Trusted Experience. Proven Leadership.
Working together to meet the needs of Nicollet County citizens is critical for efficient government. If problems develop or processes are not working, solutions can be found by pulling together those departments that can effect change. Michelle Zehnder Fischer collaborates with county departments on issues such as service delivery, contract review, efficient and timely pursuit of child support from parents to support their children, drainage issues, the mental health needs of criminal defendants, and preventing fraud.
A strong relationship with law enforcement is critical to protecting public safety. We meet quarterly with our law enforcement partners to identify issues and training needs. The County Attorney’s Office provides daily advice to officers on legal questions. Michelle is a frequent presenter at law enforcement trainings.
There is also a need to work with community partners to identify needs and find solutions. The County Attorney’s Office partners with other service providers to offer services to victims. We partner with multiple agencies to address issues of human trafficking and sexual violence. Michelle works with multiple community entities on the Toward Zero Deaths initiative to reduce number of traffic deaths on our roadways.
In 2013, Michelle called together a collaborative group of school officials, physicians, therapists, human services, probation, and county attorney’s offices to work together to remove barriers to students staying in school. This led to the formation of Stakeholders for Education Success. Stakeholders has increased communication between the professionals working with those students struggling to stay in school. This organization has hosted four conferences focusing on topics that interfere with school attendance.
Collaboration between all local governments better serves county citizens. In 2017, Michelle co-led efforts to offer diversity training. It was through collaboration with the Cities of St. Peter and North Mankato that we were able to offer a series of training sessions addressing cultural diversity for all city and county staff.
Michelle was honored to serve on Governor Dayton’s Taskforce for the Protection of Children from October 2014 to March 2015. This taskforce of 26 diverse professionals worked together to form recommendations to improve the child protection system following the tragic death of four-year-old Eric Dean. The recommendations allowed for earlier intervention and offering of services to families in need. This taskforce required working together on an emotionally charged topic to improve outcomes for kids and families.
Michelle's experience and leadership lead to her be awarded the following awards and recognitions
2011: Lions Club Melvin Jones Award
2013: St. Peter Women Celebrating Woman Award
2015: Minnesota County Attorney’s Association Meritorious Service Award
2016: Minnesota Toward Zero Death—Judicial/Courts Star Award