New Richmond administrative hopefuls arrive for interviewsThe five finalists for the position of city administrator and utilities manager will visit New Richmond Friday and Saturday to tour facilities and meet with the public and City Council members.
By: By Judy Wiff, New Richmond News
The five finalists for the position of city administrator and utilities manager will visit New Richmond Friday and Saturday to tour facilities and meet with the public and City Council members.
Full schedules of meetings and interviews are planned for both days. Those interviews are the first time the candidates will meet with City Council members.
While the timeline calls for the selection of a new administrator Saturday afternoon, the city’s executive search consultant, Richard Fursman of Brimeyer Fursman, said about a fifth of councils “decide to ‘sleep on it’ and make the decision after further reflection.”
City Council and Utility Board members will meet in teams of two with each candidate Friday afternoon, and the public is invited to meet the applicants during a reception that will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Lola’s Restaurant.
On Saturday morning each applicant is scheduled for three interviews: one with council and board members, one with a staff group and one with a panel of citizens.
The finalists include:
—Mike Darrow, current city administrator and utility manager for Gilbert, Minn., a community of about 1,800 people on the Iron Range of northern Minnesota.
—Adam Hammatt, former village administrator for Suamico, a community of more than 11,000 just north of Green Bay.
—Peter Kling, interim director of the St. Croix County Planning and Zoning Department and longtime agent with the University of Wisconsin Extension office in Baldwin.
—Dan Koski, current New Richmond city engineer, street superintendent and stormwater utility manager.
— Brian Wagner, city manager for Maquoketa, Iowa, a community of about 6,100 in eastern Iowa.
Jim Ferneau, city administrator for Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, was among the original six finalists, but withdrew his name last week after accepting a job with another city, said Fursman.
New Richmond had about 50 applicants for its soon-to-be-open city administrator and utilities manager position. Administrator Dennis Horner is retiring after more than 27 years in the position.
Here is more information about the five finalists:
Mike Darrow has been city administrator and utility manager for Gilbert, Minn., since January 2009. He has worked for the past 15 years as a consultant and administrator in the public and private sectors.
He holds a Master’s degree in community development and urban planning from Minnesota State University in Mankato and an undergraduate degree in urban studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Darrow said he has worked for communities throughout the Upper Midwest on economic development and community development processes.
“While the city administration job would be exciting, my family and I are looking for a community in which to grow and become an active part” said Darrow. “After touring the city last week with my wife and 3-year-old daughter and taking in a girls basketball game at the grade school, I would be excited to not only work in New Richmond, but become part of the community.”
Adam Hammatt said he has a background in public safety and was a firefighter/ paramedic for six years before finishing his education. He then became the city administrator in Elroy and then the village administrator in Suamico.
“During this time I gained experience in all aspects of Wisconsin public administration, including electric, water and wastewater utility management,” said Hammatt. “I believe I possess the skills, abilities, education and experiences necessary to be highly effective as the New Richmond city administrator.”
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science, a Master’s degree in public administration and a Doctorate of Law, with advanced certifications in mediation and negotiation. He is also a certified public manager through UW-Madison and has a utility management certification from the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin.
“I work well with the public and business community and am excited for this opportunity to serve,” said Hammatt. “I have heard great things about New Richmond, and I believe it to be a wonderful place for my family and me.”
Peter Kling has been interim director of the St. Croix County Planning and Zoning Department since December. He was community resource director for UW-Cooperative Extension in St. Croix County from November 2006 to December 2011; worked as project manager for a private company in St. Paul from March 2006 to November 2006; served as urban land use specialist in the St. Croix County Land and Water Conservation Department for the six years prior to that; and was project manager for St. Croix Lakes Cluster Priority Watershed from May 1995 to January 2000.
Kling holds a Bachelor’s degree in forestry and soil science from UW-Madison, a Master’s degree in soil science from UW-Madison and a certificate in public management from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
“Throughout my 16 year career serving public and private organizations, I have achieved success using an engaging, communicative and optimistic leadership style,” said Kling. He expects to use the same style “to inspire and empower city staff, city council, businesses, and residents to reach mutual goals through teamwork and alignment of effort.”
Kling added, “New Richmond’s future is bright, and I’m confident my leadership skills are the right match for continued community growth and development for the next generation.”
Dan Koski works now as the city’s engineer, street superintendent and storm water utility manager and is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of street maintenance and upgrades.
He has worked for New Richmond since 2007. Before that he was engineer for the village of Weston for four years.
“In these positions I have had the opportunity for direct involvement with the public through leading and presenting at public informational meetings and hearings,” said Koski. He has managed projects totaling over $20 million and has been responsible for managing projects totaling $6-8 million annually.
Koski received his Bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from Michigan Technological University and is now finishing a Master’s in public administration degree from Hamline University.
“I believe the fact that I have business and administrative experience, coupled with my engineering background makes me uniquely qualified for the (position),” said Koski. “In addition, the fact that I am already familiar with the overriding issues concerning the New Richmond area, coupled with the excellent working relationship with area governmental and business leaders I have provides myriad intangible benefits that would allow me to hit the ground running with this position.”
Brian Wagner has 20 years of experience in city administration. From 1991-1997, he was city coordinator in Lakefield, Minn. He has been the city manager in Maquoketa, Iowa, since 1997.
“In both jobs, I’ve worked with the core departments that are typical to most cities,” said Wagner. He has also served as a local elected official for nine years in his hometown, serving both on the school board and the city council.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Wartburg College and a Master’s degree in journalism/mass communication from Iowa State.
“In reading the posting for the job, I felt that some of the traits that were listed seemed to fit me,” said Wagner. “I, too, hope that some of my values and beliefs will be seen as a good fit for New Richmond. Among them, I believe that a city and its staff must have a reputation for credibility, humility and a sense of honor.”
He added, “I believe that leadership is situational and that a group process that involves the elected people, staff and our citizens is more likely to create consensus and less likely to make errors.”