Council interviews lone city admin. candidate

Steve Berkner

By Per Peterson

Only one candidate was left standing by the time the Tracy City Council began the interview process Tuesday to fill the vacant city administrator position.

Candidate Steve Berkner went in front of the council Tuesday evening during a special meeting scheduled to find Kris Ambuehl’s replacement. It was recommended unanimously that the council offer the position to Berkner.

The former Ortonville mayor fielded a litany of questions Tuesday, including if he saw himself as more of a commander or coach. He answered coach, stating it’s important to work with others.  He also said honesty is an important part of leading others in a management position.

Berkner grew up in Ortonville and served as mayor there for four years, to go along with his five years on the city council. Berkner, who served on Planning & Zoning for 15 years in Ortonville, said he’s used to having a hands-on approach to city government.

Berkner said it’s important to work as a team within the city. He said his biggest weakness is taking on too much at a time, but he likes to see things through to the end to find a solution to an issue.

“But I don’t have to take credit for seeing a project though to the end,” he said. “It takes a lot of people to see things through to the end.”

When asked how he would handle conflict with personnel, Berkner went back to his days as a restauranteur.

“I’ll look someone in the eye and ask them, ‘Why is it you’re upset and what would you like to accomplish?” he said. “It doesn’t do any good for people to show up at a meeting and start pounding their fist. Everybody just has to give a little bit. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and look at a solution to make sure the offended party is heard.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.