The Hanover City Council heard from interim administrator Bob Derus about the next steps for city administrator recruitment.
The council also discussed large parcel property right entitlements, and took action on other issues at its monthly workshop and city council meeting.
Derus said the current direction is that there may not be an administrator recruitment process. He said his role would be diminished as other staff gets trained in.
For example, he said accountant/deputy clerk Annita Smythe would be promoted to city clerk/assistant administrator.
“The council talked about it, and that recommendation will be on the next agenda,” Derus said in a later interview. “(Smythe) is going to be looked at as more and more taking on a leadership role, with me helping in the training.”
Derus said he would be less of a hands on administrator “and more just going to staff meetings and council meetings.”
He also said the proposal is for present intern Brian Hagen to be hired as an administrative assistant. Hagen is obtaining a master’s degree in public administration from Minnesota State University-Mankato.
Right now Derus is working 30 to 35 hours per week in the interim role. He said after May 1 his hours would go down substantially, to about 10, as Smythe and Hagen assume more of the duties. Derus has been working in Hanover since about August, after former administrator Dan Buchholtz took another job.
Meantime, he said he would continue to train Smythe and Hagen.
“There will be a time where things are just fine, from a staff perspective,” he said. “We need a plan so the council understands I’ll still be involved. Both (Smythe) and (Hagen) have a lot of natural leadership skills. They have a lot of potential and demonstrated they can be part of steering the city in a positive direction.”
At the council’s regular meeting April 2, the council approved several resolutions related to the staffing changes, including approving a job description for the city clerk/assistant administrator, approving a job description for the administrative assistant, approving a job description for the receptionist/bookkeeper, appointing Hagen as administrative assistant, and authorizing posting of the receptionist, bookkeeper position.
The council also appointed Justin Messner as city engineer. Messner works for WSB Associates, the city’s longtime engineering firm.
In other news, staff discussed entitlements for larger parcels.
“We need to tell landowners what they can do with their property,” administrator Derus told the council. Derus noted that only lots with municipal utility access can be subdivided.
Mayor Chris Kauffman suggested adding the topic to the next council workshop, “along with a brief discussion about the comprehensive plan,” he said, which is the planning document that spells out the city’s growth and zoning.
City attorney Jay Squires suggested contacting other cities to see how they deal with similar zoning issues.
“This is a big topic,” Derus said. No further action or discussion was taken on this matter.
In other action, the council:
HEARD from Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty at the council workshop. Hagerty shared that Hanover continues to have a very low crime rate. The city contracts with Wright and Hennepin sheriffs for coverage.
HEARD that staff is putting together a pavement management plan, including setting a road repair schedule and proposing an assessment policy.
HEARD from Wright County Commissioner Mike Potter about issues he’s working on since assuming office in January. He said the biggest topic remains transportation, and improvements to the Hwy. 12, Hwy. 55 and Interstate 94 corridor.
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The Hanover City Hall office has been re-configured to better accommodate the public. Shown at the new front counter are, left to right, new city clerk-assistant city administrator Annita Smythe, new councilor Douglas Hammerseng, and intern Brian Hagen. Hagen will become administrative assistant in June. (Photo by Doug Voerding)