Administrator search extended until spring

By Seth Schmidt

After Madonna Peterson abruptly resigned as city administrator in September, council members expressed hopes that a successor would be in place by December or early January.
City leaders have now resigned themselves to the reality that the transition won’t happen that quickly.
On Monday, the city council accepted a consultant’s recommendation to delay the hiring process “a minimum of three months.” But they balked at a suggestion to hire an interim administrator. Council consensus is to have Public Works Director Shane Daniels continue as interim city administrator, with the issue open to reconsideration in January.
Wendell Sande, the city’s search consultant with the South Central Service Cooperative, in a memo to the council, reported that the Tracy vacancy has attracted “very limited” interest from potential candidates. As of Monday, Sande indicated that he’d had only six applications.
He outlined several factors that he felt had made the Tracy position less attractive than it otherwise might have been.
“In responding to inquiries from prospective applicants, several issues have come up, including turnover in the position of City Administrator, turnover on the City Council, and location as it relates to employment opportunities for a candidate’s spouse.”
Additionally, Sande wrote, similar vacancies exist in southern and central Minneota, in communities of similar size to Tracy. “This is likely impacting the number of applicants as well.”
Pushing back the city administrator hiring process, Sande related, would allow time for appointments to be made for the council seat vacated by Bill Chukuske’s resignation, as well as the open seat that will be created when Mayor Steve Ferrazzano is sworn in as a Fifth District Court Judge. It would also “allow an opportunity for the new council members to be seated and to familiarize themselves with city council procedures, city operations, staff, and budget, as well as ongoing city projects.”

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.