Split Albertville council votes to hire contractor for administrator search

The Albertville City Council voted 3-2 to hire the Springstead firm to assist the city in a search for a new city administrator.

The council also opted to take no action regarding a request to allow urban chickens.



Mayor Mark Meehan and city councilors John Vetsch, Larry Sorensen, Dan Wagner and Jillian Hendrickson discussed a memo from city attorney Mike Couri pertaining to the city administrator search.

The council July 2 directed the ad hoc committee to develop a city administrator position/profile job description for the council to adopt.

“After the meeting, the ad hock committee concluded that Bob Thistle is the only person capable of performing this task,” Couri said in his memo.

He said Thistle, the interim administrator, then put together a proposed outline/work schedule, cost estimate and comments related to developing a position profile.

The cost range for using Thistle in this capacity is $1,150 to $1,850. Couri said a report for council consideration should be available in four weeks.

“The concern of the (committee) and city staff is that if (Thistle) does the work, it will directly cut into the time he has available to devote to the city administrator position,” Couri said. He added that preparing this work could “take a chunk” out of the time that Thistle would otherwise devote to managing the city.

He said, from a cost perspective, there appears to be little difference if Thistle does the work, or if the city contracts with the Springstead company.

Couri suggested it would be wise to hire Springstead.

“I am also assuming that Springstead, having gone through this exercise many times in the past for many different clients, will have more experience at working with divided councils and may be better able to synthesize the differing preferences of the council members as to the qualities and characteristics that the city should look for in a city administrator,” he said.

Hendrickson ended up making a motion to accept the plan and begin phase one of the administrator search with Springstead. The motion passed 3-2, with Hendrickson, Meehan and Vetsch in support; Sorensen and Wagner were opposed.

Sorensen had previously indicated that this process complicates creating the job role, whereas the city has a job description on file and could simply tweak it.



In further matters, the council continued discussion regarding a request from a resident in Towne Lakes to allow urban chicken coops.

Resident Chad Dahlheimer had asked the council to consider allowing urban chickens.

City planner Al Brixius explained that current ordinance does not allow such use of farm animals, and that chickens are defined as a farm animal.

The council ultimately opted to take no action and keep the ordinance the same.

Councilor Hendrickson indicated she would be willing to further consider this topic in the future if other residents come with similar requests.

In other action, the council:

TABLED a request for a Fraser Steel business subsidy. Fraser’s expansion project is on hold until next year.

SET two meetings to canvass the election results: Friday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. (after Aug. 14 primary); and Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 6:30 p.m. to canvass the Nov. 6 general election.

RESCHEDULED the Monday, Nov. 5, council meeting to Wednesday, Nov. 7, due to the Nov. 6 general election.

ACCEPTED a “Bowling Challenge” from the city of St. Michael for its Daze & Knights Festival Friday, Aug. 10, at River Bowling Alley.