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Council is happy with field of city administrator finalists

Farmington mayor Todd Larson is excited for Friday - and not just because he's looking forward to the weekend.

On Friday, Farmington City Council members will conduct the first round of interviews for the vacant city administrator position. With six candidates to choose from, Larson is looking forward to getting started.

The candidate names were released last Wednesday after all six agreed to interviews. In alphabetical order, they include Brian Anderson, current city administrator in Newport; Bart Fischer, the assistant city administrator and economic development director in Chaska; David McKnight, city administrator in Mendota Heights; Ron Moores, a government affairs consultant in Afton; Bruce Messelt, city administrator for Lake Elmo; and Samantha Orduno, city administrator in Dayton.

McKnight is very familiar with the city of Farmington. He grew up in Farmington and served one term on the Farmington City Council. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything, because Larson sees a few similarities between Farmington and the other communities each of these candidates represent.

"Look at Dayton," he said. "Dayton is going through similar things as Farmington. It's growing but there's not a lot of commercial. That stuck out in my mind."

Council members will conduct the interviews Friday, but they're also interested to see what residents think about the candidates. That's why they've scheduled a meet-and-greet session from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, June 27, at city hall. The session is a chance for residents to come meet the candidates, ask a few questions, and give a little feedback to council members.

"I just want to sit back and see how (the candidates) interact with the residents, see how they answer their questions. Hopefully we get a good turnout," Larson said.

Both Friday's interviews and Monday's meet and greet are open to the public. Council interviews begin at 10 a.m. in city hall.

The council will meet at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to select final candidates.

Larson expects the process will help council members make a good selection for finalists. Seeing names and experience on paper is helpful, but he's looking forward to meeting the individuals and getting to know a little about them.

"I'm so excited. It's a huge decision. We have so some really capable and qualified candidates. I don't think we can go wrong here," he said.

Does that mean he thinks council members will be able to select a new city administrator from this bunch?

"You better believe it," Larson said.

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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