City admin. search resumes — yet again

City’s latest choice to fill spot turns down offer, citing personal reasons

By Per Peterson

The search for a new city administrator has officially resumed — for the third time.

Tracy Mayor Anthony Dimmers announced at Monday’s city council meeting that Steve Berkner has turned down the city administrator position he was offered in December. Berkner, who verbally accepted the city’s offer right before Christmas, cited personal reasons for his decision.

“He’s facing some family challenges, and I totally support his decision,” Dimmers said in an interview after Monday’s council meeting. “Anything that we can do to be of assistance to him we’ll do. It’s a justified withdrawal.”

Dimmers was clearly disappointed over Berkner’s decision, but he chose to keep a positive attitude going forward.

“It’s kind of like when you get all excited for Christmas morning to get that Transformer and you end up with a pair of socks,” Dimmers said. “But life happens. We hike up our pants and we move forward. Good things come to those who wait. Personally, I believe things happen for a reason. I don’t know where we’re going from here — my crystal ball got broke — but I have to think that there’s something better for us. Not that Steve was a bad fit, but I look at it like, if he’s not the guy, then there’s someone out there, who remains to be known, that is going to fit well here in Tracy and is going to work well for us.”

Where the City goes from here is a well-traveled path it went down time and time again after former city administrator Kris Ambuehl resigned last summer. The position was offered to a candidate in October in what was the first round of the hiring process, but that person eventually declined the offer. So the process started over, and Berkner was chosen as Ambuehl’s replacement. The former mayor of Ortonville made a number of visits to Tracy and said he felt good about coming here and facing any challenges the position might offer.

Dimmers said Berkner’s withdrawal, while disappointing, will give Tracy yet another opportunity to bring in the right person for Tracy.

“We have plenty of negative stuff to dwell on in Tracy, so why pile onto that?” Dimmers said. “You can choose to look at it negatively, or you can choose to say, ‘How do we turn this around to our advantage?’ That’s kind of the course I’m taking. It’s a disappointment, but we’ll get through this. Here’s another opportunity to get THE right person.”

Interim City Administrator and Public Works Director Shane Daniels will continue pulling double-duty. Most of the conversation at Monday’s meeting surrounded how the City will continue to take care of day-to-day duties. Daniels will be charged with those, but he is taking a vacation in the near future.

An attempt by the Tracy Area Headlight Heralnd to reach Berkner Tuesday was unsuccessful.