New Richmond whittles down list of candidatesNew Richmond had 50 applicants for its soon-to-be-open city administrator and utilities manager position. Dennis Horner is poised to retire after more than 27 years in that top city position.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
New Richmond had 50 applicants for its soon-to-be-open city administrator and utilities manager position. Dennis Horner is poised to retire after more than 27 years in that top city position.
The city’s executive search consultant, Richard Fursman with Brimeyer Fursman, whittled the number of potential candidates to about 16 and completed the initial screening and interviews. On Monday, the consultant brought the names of 10 finalists to the New Richmond City Council for review.
According to Mayor Fred Horne, the list of finalists was cut to six on Monday night. The candidates were contacted after that to see if they wanted to be part of the interview process.
The finalists who proceed will come to New Richmond March 2-3 for a tour and an interview. A public open house to interact with the finalists is tentatively set for 5 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Lola’s Restaurant.
Watch www.newrichmond-news.com for a list of the finalists’ names later this week.
In other business:
• The council tabled a plan to establish a new employee suggestion program. Although council members seemed to agree it was a good idea, there was some concern about the financial incentives tied to suggestions that employees might offer.
Nancy Petersen, utility finance and accounting manager, said the proposal was to reward employees who come up with ideas that make the city run more efficiently or effectively. The program would offer employees a certificate of commendation for ideas that don’t result in actual financial savings, but would offer a bonus to those who come up with ways to save money.
Under the plan, an employee might receive up to a $100 bonus for a good idea that eventually is implemented. If an idea generates significant savings for the city, an employee could gain a bonus up to 10 percent of the savings realized.
Alderman Kirk Van Blaircom said he had a problem with the 10 percent figure. As an example, if an employee suggested an idea that saved the city $150,000, they could be in line for a $15,000 bonus, Van Blaircom noted.
“I’m all for promoting efficiency,” Van Blaircom said. “But I can tell you, 10 percent is way beyond what I’m comfortable with. I don’t think that’s fair to the taxpayers.”
Some suggested capping the reward level at $1,000.
Mayor Fred Horne also wondered if bonuses would only apply to those suggestions offered outside a person’s own department. He said he thought an employee’s effort to be more efficient would be a part of their normal job duties and should not be subject to a bonus payment.
In the end, the council voted to table the matter so more discussion could take place.
For a complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.