Alexandria to start interviewing candidates for new engineer/public works director postHow many engineers does it take to hire an engineer? The Alexandria City Council tussled with the idea at its meeting Monday night. It eventually voted 5-0 to appoint Douglas County Engineer Dave Robley to an interview committee that will consider applicants for the city engineer/public works director.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
How many engineers does it take to hire an engineer?
The Alexandria City Council tussled with the idea at its meeting Monday night.
It eventually voted 5-0 to appoint Douglas County Engineer Dave Robley to an interview committee that will consider applicants for the city engineer/public works director.
The city created the position because Bryan Bjorgaard, the city’s public works coordinator for the last five years, resigned the post to move to Idaho Falls.
The city received 11 applications and eight met the minimum requirements.
Other committee members who will be interviewing candidates include council members Virgil Batesole, who holds an engineering degree, and Elroy Frank; City Administrator Jim Taddei; Personnel Director Karin Tank; and Assistant Administrator Marty Schultz.
After the council made a motion to add Robley, Batesole added an amendment to include two more engineers on the committee, Don Nolting and Ron Stahlberg, but his amendment was voted down, 4-1.
Other council members were concerned that the committee would be too big. City Attorney Tom Jacobson agreed, saying that he had concerns about bringing in too many people from outside city staff who may not be trained in asking interview questions.
Batesole said he didn’t think the committee would be too big and suggested dropping some city staff from the committee, if that was a concern.
“The more smarts we can get, the better off we are,” Batesole said. “I’ve served on a lot of committees that had more members than this.”
Council member Sara Carlson said that if the city needed more engineering expertise on the committee, Robley would provide it and the city could also consult with its current engineer, Tim Schoonhoven. “I don’t know if we should just randomly add people,” she said.
IN OTHER ACTION
In other action at Monday’s meeting, the council:
• Accepted a low estimate not to exceed $17,000 from Lennes Brothers Electric of Alexandria for upgrades at the Runestone Community Center. The RCC hasn’t had major electrical improvements since it was built back in 1977, noted RCC Manager Vinnie Hennen. A safety inspection that the city ordered a few months ago showed several safety problems at the RCC. The work includes adding more electrical outlets to eliminate the use of extension cords and upgrading the emergency lighting systems. Lennes Brothers has done electrical work at the RCC before and is very knowledgeable about what needs to be done, said Hennen. Funding will come from the city’s capital improvement fund.
• Listened to an update on the West Central Initiative (WCI) activities from Tom McSparron, donor services officer. WCI, now in its 26th year, organized 48 events this past year that were attended by 2,000 people. The organization also provided $3.4 million in grants and loans. Two new programs were added – a competitive workforce program and access to capital for small businesses. WCI is requesting the city to contribute $8,000 in 2013, which would be matched by the McKnight Foundation. The council thanked McSparron for the report. No action was taken on the funding request.
• Approved an out-of-state travel request from Karin Tank, assistant city planner, to attend a Pro-Walk, Pro-Bike Conference in Long Beach, California on September 10-13. A grant through Active Living Douglas County will pay for the conference, hotel, airfare, meals and other expenses. The only cost the city will incur is Tank’s time while she is away.
• Appointed 51 election judges for the primary election on August 14. They will be located in seven of the city’s polling places: Ward 1, Precincts 1 and 2 – Lake Community Church; Ward 2 – Living Waters Church; Ward 3 – New Life Christian Church; Ward 4 – Cornerstone Church; Ward 5, Precincts 1 and 2 – City Hall.
• Approved a subordination agreement for Jacob and Tracy Capistrant that will allow them to refinance their $6,000 mortgage with the Alexandria Economic Development Authority to Bremer Bank. The property is located in The Trails Addition. Benson recused himself from the discussion and vote.
• Was informed that State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen was recognized by the League of Minnesota Cities for his support of environmental legislation that was important to cities. Mayor Dan Ness noted that League honor was bestowed on only 23 legislators this year.
• Was informed that WCI’s transportation committee will host an open house at the WCI Fergus Falls office on July 13 at 10 a.m. Council members were invited to attend.
• Approved a charitable gambling permit to the Alexandria Lions Club to offer bingo during the Douglas County Fair, August 16-19.