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Farmington city administrator earns high marks in review

David McKnight

After reorganizing some city departments and hiring the city's first full-time, professional fire chief, council members believe Farmington City Administrator David McKnight continues to meet and exceed expectations.

McKnight received an annual performance review Aug. 7, during a closed meeting for nearly 45 minutes. Review results were part of a report at the Monday, Aug. 21, regular council meeting.

Each council member filled out performance evaluation forms prior to the evaluation that did not indicate any reference to individual council members.

Council feedback reported that McKnight continues to meet or exceed council's expectations in the categories evaluated. Those areas were leadership, communication, quality of work, organizational culture and the relationship he maintains between the administration and city council.

The majority of the ratings showed McKnight meets expectations or exceeds expectations, according to City Attorney Joel Jamnik.

Organizational ratings were influenced by continuing challenges of work involved with implementing the organizational and staffing changes, Jamnik said. He added how the council directs or fully supports the work McKnight is striving to implement.

Farmington Mayor Todd Larson said in an interview that McKnight continues to offer the city strong leadership.

"I look at the city as a business and he is our CEO and general manager," Larson said.

McKnight continues to exceed the expectations of a majority on the council and fully meets the expectations of other council members, Larson said.

During the closed meeting, the council spent substantial discussion time on the hiring of the city's first full-time professional fire chief. The council also discussed the city's department reorganizations and recent employee retirements, resignations and hiring.

During the closed meeting, McKnight submitted a report to show council members progress from the past year that serves as evidence of how he has worked on performance goals.

McKnight was commended on two areas of strength: communication and maintaining a good relationship with the city council.

No changes were made to the city administrator's goals and initiatives. The goals remain: meeting the information needs and keeping in good communication with individual council members; concentrating on budget and service delivery issues; and promoting economic development.

The council noted since the city's finance director will be retiring soon, the city will need to hire other staff and McKnight will need to place a continued emphasis on hiring qualified individuals.

Larson appreciates how McKnight continues to exercise strong leadership in achieving the council's goals as he works to improve the professionalism from city staff and the organizational culture at city hall.

"David continues to do a stellar job and the council is extremely happy with the job he is doing, and he has set it up so he and we can make those goals happen," Larson said.

McKnight will see an annual salary raise because he has been compensated less than other Dakota County administrators and managers who carry less years of experience in the profession.

McKnight's annual salary will be $130,500 and will become effective on his anniversary date of Aug. 29. His current annual salary is $123,991.