City of Wadena may forgo hiring city admin. until 2022

Negotiations with the council's top two picks did not go as hoped.

The Wadena City Council interviews Jake Huebsch on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in the council chambers. Huebsch was one of four candidates to be interviewed in the process that lasted most of the day. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Interim Wadena City Administrator David Evans is going to be spending more time in his new role after Wadena City Councilmen decided to restart their search for the next city administrator during a council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 10.

The decision comes after the top two picks among the council both stepped out of the running. While there remained two others out of an early field of 16, the council decided to press pause, and restart the search after the new year.

Mayor George Deiss said the council could bring back the two remaining finalists and possibly hire one of them, or, the human resources group the city is working with suggested that it might be wise to try for another round of applicants at the start of the new year. Reposting now, as cities plan their annual budgets might not bring in many new candidates. Hearing that, councilman Wade Miller agreed.

“My thoughts are we drain the pool and let it refill,” Miller said. “If David is OK with … ?”

Hearing no objections of continuing on in the interim position, the council thanked Evans for hanging on beyond what was first suggested of his time in the job.


Uselman said it’s unclear what it was that kept the council’s top pick, Glenn Anderson, from agreeing with the offer.

“I don’t know what George or I could have done as a committee because we never heard what he wanted, it never surfaced,” Uselman said.

The council’s second pick, Richard Downey, current administrator for the Village of Kronenwetter, Wisc., shared that he is no longer interested in the position.

Brought up in the negotiations was a severance package and an employment contract. Deiss said they would need to look into those options with the city attorney to determine what added benefits they can offer in the job.

Uselman asked Evans if there was anything that would help him continue on in the role.

“Time,” Evans said. His concern was he may not have enough time to invest fully in the upcoming library remodel along with other projects ongoing in the city.

How they got here

The Wadena City Council questioned four finalists in their search for the next city administrator position Wednesday, Aug. 4.

The council heard from (in this order) Jake Huebsch, Richard Downey, Rozlyn Tousignant and Glenn Anderson. All applicants toured the city with Mayor George Deiss, had meetings with department heads and all brought a variety of skills to the table. A fifth candidate, Joseph Rotz dropped out of the race about a week ago.


Following interviews, the council made the decision to openly discuss their top picks. In reviewing comments from staff, the council shared that they were pleased to see staff were largely thinking the same things as them. Most highly rated among each of the council members was Anderson, followed by Downey.

RELATED: Wadena council zeros in on next city administrator
Other applicants

Those finalists that were not brought into negotiations include:

Rozlyn Tousignant currently serves as an office support specialist with the City of Bloomington, Minn., where she has been in the role for two and a half years. Prior to this, she served as deputy city clerk for the City of Brooklyn Center, Minn., for three years. Ms. Tousignant holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in public administration.

Jake Huebsch currently works for Sourcewell as the Community Development Administrator where he has been employed for over three years. Prior to this, he served as transit director for Wadena County, Minn., for seven months. He has also held the position of community and transportation planner for the City of Mankato, Minn., for four years, and the community and transportation planner for the Region Five Development Commission for over three years. Huebsch holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management and recreation as well as a bachelor’s degree in community development/urban studies.

RELATED: Wadena City Council approves administrator's resignation
The city began their search for the next administrator shortly after former administrator Janette Bower resigned from her spot in April 2021 to take a job in Alaska.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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