10 applicants vie for next city admin. spot
The field will be narrowed before a group of 2-4 make an appearance before the council.
WADENA — The city of Wadena received 10 applications for the position of Wadena city administrator in this, the second round of the search for the next administrator.
With the application window now closed, this group of 10 is expected to be narrowed down to two or four applicants that the council will have a chance to interview, according to an update from interim city administrator David Evans. Evans said that video interviews will be completed and shared with the council to get a first look at the applicants.
The council interviewed four applicants last time around in 2021, but did not approve hiring among those who remained after several stepped out of the running last summer. The position became open after former city administrator Janette Bower resigns her position to take a similar job in Alaska.
Costs rise, limited supplies
Utility superintendent David Evans shared his concerns about recent increases in costs and unknowns about supplies in his report to the council.
While quotes for materials were once good for several weeks to a month, Evans said volatility has meant some quotes are now only good for 24 hours, making decision making extremely difficult, especially where council action is required. Evans also expressed concerns over costs of material. He noted PVC products are five times the cost of two years ago. Transformers he expects to be up 50% and are many months out from arrival.
Even so, Evans confirmed that the city is not yet looking at rate increases.
Evans felt good about the city’s on-hand supplies for this year but had concerns of major storm events that could deplete supplies quickly.
“It’s going to get a little scary,” Evans said. “I’m a little afraid of storms.”
If that’s not enough, council members were perhaps more concerned when Wadena Liquor manager Tim Booth explained that beer prices were on the rise.
“Making the big profits is not going to be as easy this time around,” Booth explained. The liquor store had its biggest year in 2021 grossing almost $3 million in sales.
Booth explained that higher prices can hurt enough, but the smaller volumes of alcohol they can buy means they lose out on the big volume discounts that he depends on to turn a profit.
One plus for the business was that they can now sell Bloody Mary add-ons like beef sticks in store.
The council heard from Wellness Center manager Eric Robb and his recommendation to provide discounted memberships to the wellness center to fire department members and part-time police. He requested a 15% discount for single membership of any length for those in this group.
He also requested a 10% discount on single memberships for any fire department member in the area. Full-time city staff already have an opportunity to receive discounts through a wellness program. Military veterans currently get a 10% discount.
Robb saw this as a way to increase membership and to help area fire and police officers lead healthy and active lives.
Robb is also favorable to offering memberships to those who work at the wellness center.
The council took no action on the request at this time.
In other actions, the council:
- Approved a tattoo license for Emily Canning, dba Permanent Makeup by Emily Canning at 213 Jefferson St. S.
- Approved hiring Kaylee Desotell for desk clerk position at the Maslowski Wellness & Research Center.
- Confirmed the mayor's appointment of Maria Marthaler to the Wadena Development Authority Board for a term of six years.
- Accepted a donation of $5,000 from the Wadena Fire Department Bingo account to the city to be placed in the Wadena Fire Relief Association fund.
- Approved the Wadena Fire Department Relief Association’s request to increase the Relief’s pension benefits by $300, to a total of $3,700 per year of service. These funds go to the retirement benefits available to all firefighters. Wadena firefighter Shawn Swenson shared that the Fire Relief fund is currently funded at 115.9%. When fully funded this requires no city contribution to pay these costs.