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Hometown candidate McKnight is Farmington's new city administrator

New Farmington City Administrator David McKnight.

He was born here. He was raised here. He went to high school here, and has spent all of his life as a resident here. Now, David McKnight has been asked to work here, as Farmington's new city administrator.

McKnight is currently city administrator in Mendota Heights.

Farmington City Council members met Wednesday afternoon to pare down the list of candidates for the position from five to two or three. But just a few minutes into the meeting, it became evident they favored the same candidate. Mayor Todd Larson asked if the group was ready to make a selection right away, without benefit of a second interview.

As council members took turns naming their top candidates, McKnight's name was the first on each list.

"I believe he has a heart for the city that was matched by no one," council member Christy Jo Fogarty said.

Council members also liked Brian Anderson, a Farmington resident who is the city administrator in Newport, and Bruce Messelt, the city administrator in Lake Elmo. But neither was as clear a choice as McKnight.

"It sounds like it would take an awful lot of unraveling to reverse the order," council member Terry Donnelly said.

That might be why council members decided to skip the second interviews and offer the position to McKnight, who was once a Farmington City Council member himself.

Because McKnight has so many ties to the community -- family, friends, a working relationship with city staff -- the council discussed whether personal relationships might affect his performance as an administrator. They agreed it would not.

"He's a very professional, very ethical man," Donnelly said. "I'm not afraid that when it comes down to a tough decision, he'll take the easy way out just because he knows someone."

McKnight was chosen on a 5-0 vote of the council. Human resource director Brenda Wendlandt notified McKnight and the other candidates of council's decision following Wednesday's meeting.

The final details to be worked out include a background check to be conducted by the Farmington Police Department and agreement on a contract. Wendlandt said city attorney Joel Jamnik is working on the contract terms.

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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