By Per Peterson
Erik Hansen was sworn in as the new city administrator at the beginning of Monday’s Tracy City Council meeting, but he actually hit the ground running before that.
“I basically drove into town (Monday) about noon and started working at 2,” Hansen said. “It’s been non-stop ever since, but that’s part of the job.”
Hansen said his contract is in line with the League of Minnesota Cities’ contractual template. He added that it was important to remind the council and residents of Tracy that he has signed a two-year contract.
“I think it’s important for the community, because it sends a signal that I’m going to be here for at least a (certain) period of time … considering the turnover in the position,” he said.
After being sworn in, Hansen took his position on the dais to attend his first meeting. He said he looks at his new position as a third career — he worked in both the private and public sector in the past.
“It’s a new career, a new state,” he said. “It’s very exciting, and it’s an honor to be part of the process in Tracy. There’s a lot of interesting things happening in the community, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
“I’m excited that the city administrator has started,” Councilmember Jeri Schons said. “I think it’s very key that we get an administrator here. As a council we can function together — with Mayor Dimmers leaving, I think we can still function in our roles. It will just be even stronger now that we have a city administrator.”
Schons said it will be nice to have a permanent fixture in the city administrator’s office to handle the day-to-day duties and “to do some of the legwork for some of the council agenda items,” she said.
Moving forward, Schons doesn’t believe the council will miss a beat despite Dimmers’s departure.
“It’s not that he’s leaving because of something he’s unhappy with … it’s no different than when Steve Ferrazzano left as mayor — he left because of another job, we wished him well, and we had a transition there that went fine. I see this going just as fine.”
Hansen noted the coincidental nature of his arrival and Dimmers’ departure, but like Schons, he is confident the city can move forward during this time of transition.
“When there’s turnover on a council, it’s important that citizens know there’s stability in services,” he said. “Tracy will continue to provide services as the city council decides how to address the vacancy of the mayor.”
Hansen grew up in a small town in northern Iowa — in a community smaller than Tracy. His city government experience includes serving as a county commissioner in Brighton, CO, and as council member and mayor of the City of Thorton, CO — a city of 140,000. At the time, the city had more than 1,000 employees and a budget in excess of $200 million. Hansen has launched several successful companies and won five elections to public office. His professional career began as a project manager for a publicly-traded, consumer products marketing company called Amrion. He also launched a series of coupon books, selling and designing advertising space for local merchants.