Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 30, 2001

New challenges await Podhradsky in Chaska

By Patrice Waldron

The Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal issue from Monday, Sept. 11, 2000, featured an article on the new City Administrator Matt Podhradsky.

Eight months later, we're saying good-bye to Matt, and wishing him well as he takes a position as the assistant to the city administrator of Chaska.

"It's been a wonderful learning experience, definitely baptism by fire," explained Podhradsky of his time in Winsted.

Chaska, a city of about 20,000 people will provide a different work environment for Podhradsky.

As assistant to the city administrator, he sees himself as an extension of the administrator. He will work to lessen the load of the administrator.

Another big difference between working in Winsted and working in Chaska is the size of the city staff.

In Chaska, there are different departments within the city, such as an engineering department, an accounting department, and a larger maintenance department.

In Winsted, because of the small staff, a person has many duties, and may occasionally even be alone in the office.

During a short time one day last week, Podhradsky answered questions about the township building codes and McLeod County, issued four brush permits, answered the phone, paged the maintenance crew, and acted as a personal relations representative for the city.

He enjoyed different aspects of his job in Winsted.

"This city council seemed to work well together," he said.

"Don (Guggemos) is a very good mayor. He knows how to run a meeting, he's proactive, and he gets things done," said Podhradsky.

"He (the mayor) really makes himself available, considering he is only paid a stipend," he said.

Podhradsky was also happy to work will the citizens of Winsted.

When asked what the best part of working in Winsted was, Podhradsky said he enjoyed the people.

"I enjoyed interacting with the people, and enjoyed seeing the people start to work together," he replied.

"The opportunity given to me in Chaska was something I couldn't pass up," said Podhradsky. "I definitely wouldn't have gotten the job in Chaska if I hadn't had the experience here."

Some of the things that Podhradsky is looking forward to in his new job are:

· living closer to his workplace, which will be easier for he and his wife.

· working under the city administrator of Chaska will be a good learning opportunity;

· the opportunity to learn more so that he'll be able to answer all the questions people ask (without doing research).

"The move will definitely be a challenge; that's okay, we all need challenges," said Podhradsky.

Some current projects will be completed in the near future. He only has three more sessions of his last master's degree course, and then his thesis paper, and an exam this fall.

Also planned is an information packet for the new city administrator. Podhradsky will include projects in progress, with information about the projects and contact numbers.

While he was growing up, Podhradsky's parents were both involved in government. He would like to see the people's perception of government change.

"We're here as an extension of the people, doing what's in the best interest of the people in an equitable manner," said Podhradsky.

"I'd eventually like to see people view government service as a good thing; the greater good for greater people," he concluded.

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