Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 11, 2000

New city administrator begins in Winsted

By Jane Otto

It's Matt Padhradsky (pod-er-ski).

In response to how many times he's been asked "How do you say that?" Padhradsky replied. "Lots."

The 24-year old Padhradsky is Winsted's newly-hired city administrator. His young age might indicate that he's somewhat green at the gills, however, Padhradsky has both a professional and family background in government.

With just two classes left to complete his masters in public administration at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Padhradsky served as an administrative intern for the city of Chaska.

His internship ran from May to the end of August and involved all areas of city services. It was a good experience, he said, because many smaller towns don't have quite the variety.

Padhradsky received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1998. While attending the university, he interned at the state capitol working for Sen. Randy Kelly, DFL-St. Paul.

An interest in government runs in the family, as his father is a Nicollet County coordinator in St. Peter. He also served as a department head for the state of South Dakota, Padhradsky said.

"I've seen all levels of government, and local government seems to fit me best," he said.

Being city administrator for only a few days is hardly enough time to set goals. However, Padhradsky said he would like to see the staff and council work as a team.

"With limited staff, it's real important to be on the same page and working towards the same goal," Padhradsky said.

It's amazing what small cities can do, he said. They are trying to offer the same services as a larger city, such as Chaska, which has a staff of almost 300.

"Larger cities can departmentalized, but here people just pick up the ball and do it," Padhradsky said.

"Winsted is a nice little town," he said. "People wave to you, though they don't know you. It's similar to where I grew up in Le Sueur."

Padhradsky sees Winsted as having great potential for economic development with such assets as being two miles from the seven-county metro area, situated on a lake, and land values aren't as high.

When Winsted is the topic, it's difficult not to bring up the old city hall issue. (The city of Winsted is presently in a lawsuit with the Winsted Preservation Society, Inc. to stop the demolition of the historic building.)

"An issue like this hits every town at least once," Padhradsky said. "In speaking of goals, this would be one of them ­ not to let it be an issue that would divide the town in half.

"Both sides have valid points. What it boils down to is that people have to live in the town together."

Aside from being city administrator, Padhradsky enjoys playing tennis and running, usually 3 1/2 miles a day.

"Well, I used to," he laughed.

Padhradsky and his wife live in Chaska. No children, he said, but they do have a cocker spaniel.

Living in Chaska, he said, seemed like the the best option as his wife drives 30 miles east and he heads 30 miles in the other direction.

He said he told his wife it should be only four meetings a month and he'll try to be home on time the other nights.

Whether or not he can hold up to his end of the bargain on that one, it's a sure bet he's happy to be Winsted's city administrator.

"Though it's not unusual," Padhradsky said, "I'm really blessed to jump into such a position so early."


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