by Tim Hennagir
Spring Lake Park City Council members have picked Daniel Buchholtz, city administrator in Hanover, as the top applicant to fill a city administrative position.
Council members conducted meetings to interview four assistant to the city administrator candidates and discuss a preferred candidate to hire.
City Aadministrator Barb Nelson said 80 applications were submitted for the assistant to the city administrator position.
The new hire will replace Nelson after a year’s worth of training and mentoring. Effective Aug. 15, Nelson will work 20 hours a week according to a phased retirement agreement approved this March.
Nelson will mark 33 years of city service this September.
She was promoted to city administrator, clerk/treasurer when Donald Busch retired after 30 years.
Council members conducted candidate interviews for three hours Monday night, then met for 15 minutes Tuesday to review candidate interview responses.
Sixteen candidate questions were scripted in advance to make it easier for the council to compare answers, Nelson said. Council took turns asking questions.
City leaders graded the four applicants numerically. Prior to discussion, Nelson asked council members to turn in their completed job candidate grading sheets.
Four council members indicated Buchholtz was their top candidate.
Councilmember Barbara Carlson didn’t list Buchholtz as her top interview prospect, according to Nelson.
Erin Stwora, current assistant to the city administrator in Dayton, was identified as the council’s No. 2 candidate during Tuesday night’s job candidate review.
Nelson asked city department heads Police Chief Doug Ebeltoft; Marian Rygwall, parks and recreation department director; Barry Brainard, building official, fire marshal and code enforcement director; and Public Works Director Terry Randall to disclose their highest-ranked candidate.
All four department heads had Buchholtz as their No. 1 candidate.
Nelson said she would contact Buchholtz Wednesday to inquire about a starting date and a salary figure.
The assistant to the city administrator position has a range of $66,025 to $84,658, an amount was previously approved by council, according to Nelson.
Larry Kruse, former Albertville city administrator, and Kelly Steele, city administrator-clerk in Madison Lake, were other candidates interviewed.