Next Friday and Saturday, the Granite Falls City Council will perform what Mayor Dave Smiglewski says is perhaps “the most important thing we do as a council,” and move to select a new City Manager.

Next Friday and Saturday, the Granite Falls City Council will perform what Mayor Dave Smiglewski says is perhaps “the most important thing we do as a council,” and move to select a new City Manager.

A group of four finalists remains in consideration for the post––dutifully executed for over 30 years by outgoing  City Manager Bill Lavin––following preliminary efforts by executive search firm, Brimeyer Fursman, performed in conjunction with the city council.

According to council members, an initial pool of applicants was weeded down to ten by Fursman, before a committee further whittled the number down to four.

Those finalist include:
Mike Betker – Betker is a local resident and is currently Finance Director of Granite Falls, a position he has held since 2011. He attended St. Cloud State University from 1998-2002 where he received a degree in Economics and then later attended Bemidji State University from 2014 to 2016 to obtain an Accounting degree.

Crystal Hanson - Hanson is the present City Manager of Dawson. She has held the position since 2013 and in years prior served as intern City Administrator for Oakdale (pop. 27,780) between 2011 and 2013. She received a Political Science and Public Administration degree from Southwest Minnesota State University over the years of 2006-2011 and also received a Masters of Public Administration from Hamline University, St. Paul, from 2011-2013.

Rebecca Schrupp – Schrupp is the present City Administrator of Clarkfield, a position she has held since December of 2013. She attended Rasmussen College in Ocala, Florida from 2007 -2011 where she received an Accounting degree. She also has a Masters of Business obtained in 2012-2013 at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Kim Moore Sykes - Sykes is the present Human Resources Director of Sibley County (pop. 15,000) and has previous experience as City Administrator, Manager and assistant between the years of 2000 to 2012 in the cities of Ramsey (pop. 20,000), Centerville (pop. 3,500), City of St. Anthony Village (pop.8,300) and Pine City (pop. 3,075). Sykes has a Masters of Public Administration from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California earned between the years of 1988 to 1991, a History and Political Science degree from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, earned between 2002-2006, as well as Project Manager certification from the University of St. Thomas, which she obtained in 2013.

Following the round of interviews  with the council that will take place on Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18, members will reconvene to make a final selection as well as set contract parameters.  

In other news:
•The City Council opened bids for an estimated $911,000 in 2016 Utility Improvements as well as $1.567 million in 2016 Street Improvements on May 12.

At the recommendation of City Engineer Dave Berryman, council members elected to reject a low bid from M.A.A.C., Inc. out of Montevideo in the amount of $460,757 and instead accept the next lowest bid from Gesilinger & Sons, Inc., of Watson, in the amount of $542,563.50.

Typically the lowest bid has to be accepted, but because the original low bidder failed to include supporting data that would indicate their capacity to complete the project, the contractor was rejected, according to council information.   

As for the Street Improvements project, a low bid by Duininck, Inc. in the amount of $1,410,610 was accepted by council.

•In related matters, the council also approved a pair of pre-sale bond reports for both the Street and Utility repairs as well as ancillary projects.

After listening to an overview of the pre-sale report by Ehlers and Associates Municipal Advisor Jason Aarsvold, council members approved the first pre-sale bond for Utility work as well as Wastewater Treatment Improvements totalling $1.915 million. The second pre-sale bond of $2.345 million was approved to cover street improvements as well as $750,000 in turbine replacement project costs.

•Council members approved a pair of request by Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce Director Mary Gillespie. The first concerned the use of the city bus at no charge for the September 30 Friday Night Meander Kick Off event, while the second involved the closure of Minnesota Avenue to accommodate Western Fest activities on Wednesday, June 22 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

•At the recommendation of City Clerk Joan Taylor, council approved a wage adjustment from both the head judge and judges of the up-coming Primary and General Elections that would establish a compensation rate of $10.50 per hour for the head judge and $10. per hour for others. The last wage adjustment took place in 2008 when wages were increased from to $8.75 and $8.25, respectively, per hour.

•At the request of resident Donald Klyberg, council members voted to waive a $6,889 assessment on recently purchased Baldwin Addition lots, which the property owner was unaware of when he obtained them.

•Council members accepted the resignation of Senior Center Advocate Kayla Hegna and Electrical Superintendent Don Reznechek (who will depart in August).