The Wadena City Council and interim City Administrator Dave Evans hope to see applications pouring since the Wadena City Administrator position was Monday, May 24.

Gary Weiers, a service team lead at David Drown Associates presented the board with the next steps in the recruitment process for the next city administrator during a special city council meeting Thursday, May 20. DDA was selected to help the city hire the next administrator as they do work in executive recruitment.

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Candidates have four weeks, or until June 21, to submit their applications.

Weiers primarily wanted council members to review the job description and what the community had to offer. They made suggestions about the elementary school being remodeled, a new hospital being built and a new Hwy 10 freshly completed in town as attractive features.

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The job posting is on the DDA website and will be sent out to prospective candidates.

The council briefly spoke about salaries. Weiers said the salary data he had was very fresh. Council member Mark Lunde pointed out that the city’s pay was considerably lower than many of the 25 listed city administrators or city managers.

“Most are above our top, Lunde noted. He questioned if the pay they were suggesting -- a low of $83,000 and the high of $109,000 was actually competitive.

Weiers felt that the numbers were not that far off from other comparable communities. He pointed out that the average top pay is $116,000.

Mayor George Deiss said the comparison showed Wadena was “about middle of the road.”

Lunde just wanted to be sure they were putting the right number on the table as “we get one shot at this,” he said.

Councilman Bruce Uselman was confident in the search as he said the city had good applicants in the last hiring.

Duties and desired attributes for the candidate were many, but the minimum qualifications included a bachelor’s degree in public administration, political science, business administration, finance, or related field, five years or more of related experience and/or training, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Timeline

The council is planning two main dates for narrowing candidates that includes July 13 and August 4.

On July 13, the council will select finalists from a selection of applications, videos and personality profiles. The council will then interview final candidates August 4.

Negotiations with Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative

City council members approved a negotiated settlement agreement between the city of Wadena Electric Utilities and Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative in an effort to avoid litigation. This agreement focuses on the area that falls outside of the city of Wadena’s service territory in the annexed area that the city brought in to serve the new Tri-County Health Care facility west of the city in Otter Tail County.

“We negotiated a rate for any new electrical customers that would fall within there so it would become our electric service territory,” according to Utilities Superintendent and interim city administrator David Evans. “Once this is signed by both parties we will report it to the Public Utilities Commission just so that it’s documented and on their file as far as who has this electrical territory.”

What the agreement entails is that the city will treat the hospital differently from other utility customers that build in this annex in a 15 year period. As a loss of revenue payment to TWEC, the city will pay TWEC $.0205 times 50% of all kilowatt hours of energy provided by the city to the hospital for 10 years. For any other customers in this transfer area, the city will again pay TWEC 21 mills ($.021) times each kilowatt hour of energy provided by the city to each customer the city provides service for 10 years.

City attorney Jeff Pederson mentioned that also part of this agreement, for a 15-year period, TWEC will retain any customers they have within the City’s service territory.

“I think this is a fair and good agreement and I think that Todd-Wadena and the city worked real well together to get this accomplished,” Pederson said.

The agreement stated that any equipment TWEC has within the transfer area including transformers, poles, wires and other transmission equipment will be disconnected and removed at TWEC’s expense.

The council first met in a closed session to discuss the matter before reopening and voting to approve the agreement. The agreement next goes to Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative for that board to consider.