Ahlf appointed Menahga’s interim city administrator

The Menahga City Council assigned Greenwood Connections Administrator Laura Ahlf the duties of interim administrator and appointed her as the responsible authority at their Monday, Aug. 29 meeting.

Menahga City Hall 2022
Shannon Geisen/ Park Rapids Enterprise

After several attempts to hire a new Menahga city administrator have proven unfruitful, Greenwood Connections Administrator Laura Ahlf has agreed to work in city hall for a few hours each day, effective Sept. 1.

Menahga Interim City Administrator Betty Thomsen’s last day was Wednesday, Aug. 31.

The Menahga City Council assigned Ahlf the duties as interim administrator and appointed her as the responsible authority at their Monday, Aug. 29 meeting.

Thomsen said she’s written down as much as she can about city hall processes, but she would be more than happy to answer questions.

She also provided a list of specific duties for Ahlf, as interim city administrator, and for Jensine Kurtti, as temporary administrative assistant/technician.


“I’m picking up some of the general administrative duties that would’ve fell on Betty,” Kurtti explained to the council. “Because Laura is going to have limited hours, I can pick up those assignments.”

As personnel representatives, Mayor Liz Olson and council member Durwin Tomperi will work with Ahlf on the financial aspect of her appointment.

Ahlf said she would like some compensation, adding that she has worked 10- to 12-hour days at Greenwood Connections for the past four years. “And I have not taken extra pay. I don’t get paid beyond the 80 hours,” she said.

Of the interim city administrator position, Ahlf said, “I’m willing to do this. Hopefully, it’s a short period of time.”

Overtime comparison

Thomsen said a council member questioned how much overtime city administration had accrued.

She presented a spreadsheet comparing the administration ($3,498) with the public works ($5,149) and police departments ($8,075).

Thomsen said she had 30 hours of overtime at straight pay, while Kurtti had 23 hours at a time-and-a-half. Previous employees had 9.5, 28.4 and 11.17 hours of overtime at 1.5 times their hourly pay.

As temporary deputy clerk, Alvina Kytta has never worked more than 40 hours per week.


Menahga Dept Overtime Comparison by Shannon Geisen on Scribd

Some current staff worked on Saturdays and didn’t punch in. “That’s how committed they were to doing this,” Thomsen said. “We’re talking four people that did double the work. I’m just saying, these are the facts.”

In the police department, the police chief had 74.8 hours of overtime at straight pay, costing a total of $3,996. Three police officers had 11, 45 and 55 hours of overtime at 1.5 times the regular rate.

Three public works staff members have had 48, 73.5 and 14.4 hours of overtime, totalling $5,149.

Thomsen said when citizens hear rumors on the street that “admin staff is raping the city, it ain’t true. You can come look at the records.”

She continued, “I think it’s time that there’s more support built here for what the people do instead of this constant wanting to tear them down. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you out. I gave up my whole summer, but I’ve got grandkids, and by gosh, that’s where I’m heading.”

To that, Thomsen received applause.

In parting, Thomsen thanked everyone who had been courteous to city staff and “understanding of what they went through because you have three wonderful people here working for you, and the city is in much better shape than it was when I came here,” she said.

Olson said, “The council is so thankful you were able to get it to that point.”


Council member Art Huebner was absent.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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