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Hillesland resigns from Wadena council

Brian Hillesland

Wadena businessman Brian Hillesland will step down from the city council July 15 because he's moving to a new house in the country.

Hillesland, 57, has served since January 2013. He announced his resignation at the end of last week's council meeting.

Mayor Wayne Wolden thanked Hillesland for his service to the city.

"We appreciate the time you spent on the council with us," Wolden said.

Hillesland, owner of Jefferson Hearing Aid Center, said he timed his departure so the vacancy could appear on the November ballot. The filing period for city elections runs from July 29 to Aug. 12.

The winner of the election will complete the final two years of Hillesland's term, beginning next January. The council has until mid-September to appoint an interim replacement to serve until the end of the year.

"It will be up to the whole council to decide what that process is," said City Administrator Brad Swenson.

In an interview Monday, Hillesland said he has enjoyed the 18 months he's spent representing Wadena on the council, park advisory board as well as the community education and Memorial Auditorium committees.

"It's been interesting to learn all of things that happen within city government," he said. "There's a lot going on all the time."

During his term, the council has focused much of its energy on the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center.

"It's been kind of fun being involved with that," Hillesland said.

Councilwoman Gillette Kempf, who was elected with Hillesland in November 2012, called her colleague a deliberate, stabilizing force on the council - "a tough act to follow."

"I've really enjoyed working with him," Kempf said. "He's going to be missed."

Hillesland has been "a very good council person," said Councilwoman Jeanette Baymler. "He seems to think things through. He thinks before he speaks."

A Parkers Prairie native, Hillesland has lived in Wadena since 1980 and has operated his own business since 2001. Although he's moving six miles south of town, he said he plans to remain an active member of the community through his business, church and the local Rotary Club.

"This is home and it still will be," Hillesland said. "We just won't be living within city limits."