Split Albertville council votes to combine top city position

Albertville City Engineer/Public Works Director Adam Nafstad was approved by the city council to also take on city administration duties. (File photo by Aaron Brom)
Albertville City Engineer/Public Works Director Adam Nafstad was approved by the city council to also take on city administration duties. (File photo by Aaron Brom)

The Albertville City Council voted 3-2 to approve current city engineer/public works director Adam Nafstad to take on city administrator duties.

The same council majority (Mayor Mark Meehan and councilors John Vetsch and Jillian Hendrickson) that voted in April to terminate former city administrator Larry Kruse’s job, voted to support offering Nafstad the position. The same councilors who voted against Kruse’s elimination (Larry Sorensen and Dan Wagner) voted against combining the engineer, public works and administrator duties.

The city’s Personnel Committee had recommended that the City Council approve the contract with Nafstad for the combined City Administrator/Engineer/Public Works Director position.  The contract is modeled on the contract with the previous City Administrator, with several significant changes. The highlights of the contract are as follows:

• Nafstad will serve at the pleasure of the City Council, meaning he can be dismissed by the city council for any legal reason. The disciplinary and termination provisions of the city’s personnel policy do not apply to this position.

• Compensation is proposed to be $103,784.00; Nafstad will serve as a salaried employee.

• Nafstad will have the same health and life insurance coverage as other city employees.

• Nafstad will have the option of receiving mileage reimbursement in the amount of $100 every two weeks or at the IRS reimbursement rate. He will have to choose one or the other method.

• Nafstad will have use of a city cell phone.

• Nafstad will accrue vacation and sick leave at the rate contained in the city’s personnel policy, beginning with 19 days of vacation per year.

• The city will cover Nafstad’s professional development costs in a number of organizations.

• If the city fires Nafstad, it will pay 6 months severance (the maximum allowed by law) if the city gives him no notice. Severance will be reduced by the amount of notice Nafstad is given prior to his termination. For example, if he is given four months notice prior to termination, he would receive only two months of severance.

• If the city splits the combined city administrator position back into city administrator and city engineer/public works director, the city would not pay severance if it offered either position to Nafstad at his current city engineer salary, adjusted for COLA increases.

• Bob Thistle will remain the Interim City Administrator through Dec. 31, and will assist Nafstad in transitioning into the city administrator position.

The agreement is effective and binding on both parties on the day it is signed, with Nafstad assuming the combined city administrator position Jan. 1, 2013.

In explaining why he voted against combining the engineer/public works and administration duties, Sorensen said Nafstad might indeed be good for the job, but that the council never went through the hiring process.

“I made it very clear all along that especially for a position of this level, I believe the proper way to go about it is to advertise the position, interview qualified candidates, and select the best person for the job,” Sorensen said.

He was also concerned about inexperience, such as attracting business to town, but had good things to say about Nafstad and that he looks forward to working with him.

“But I wish we were able to go through a full interview process before a vote was taken to hire (Nafstad),” he said.

Sorensen and the council majority did approve dual role job description and salary range motions. Wagner was opposed and indicated concern for one person taking up so many duties.

-Compiled by Aaron Brom