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City will take public input on administrator search

A few things about the hiring process for a new city administrator are still up in the air, but Farmington City Council members know they would like to hear what residents think about the finalists.

With Farmington city administrator Peter Herlofsky's final day coming up at the end of the month, council members have decided to conduct the search process on their own. While they still haven't chosen an interim administrator to fill in once Herlofsky leaves, council members expect to name one in the next couple of weeks. Mayor Todd Larson will talk to each member individually to get a feel for who council members think would be suitable to take on the position. Prior to Herlofsky's hiring, then-finance director Robin Roland assumed the position. Former police chief Dan Siebenaler was interim administrator two searches ago.

Human resource director Brenda Wendlandt and the mayor will sift through the resumes received by the city. They'll pare down the list by removing any whose qualifications do not fit the requirements, then select the the top five candidates.

The Farmington police department will assist with background checks on the top candidates, though council members have not decided whether they would like to have personality assessments done on the top candidates or not.

"I trust my gut," council member Terry Donnelly said. "I've been through this before. All I get is a paper of acronyms that don't mean anything to me."

Wendlandt said several city staff members have asked to be part of the interview process. Staff have met with candidates in past administrator searches. Since city employees are the ones who have to work with the administrator, council members said they would appreciate that input.

Council members also want to have a "meet and greet" session with the top candidates. The session would be a chance for council members and the public to get to know the candidates. The only member who was part of Herlofsky's hiring five years ago, Christy Jo Fogarty said the input she got from the last meet and greet was very valuable in helping her to decide on a candidate.

"To me, the meet and greet was my favorite component," she said.

The deadline for applications is May 20. Interviews are expected to begin approximately a month later, with the goal of having a new city administrator in place by Sept. 1.

Herlofsky's last day with the city of Farmington is May 31.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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