By Ivan Raconteur
WINSTED, MN Winsted Mayor Steve Stotko announced during an emergency city council meeting Wednesday afternoon that city administrator Andrew Elbert resigned after Tuesday’s council meeting, effective immediately.
Asked if Elbert gave any reason for his resignation, Stotko replied, “He did not.”
After Tuesday’s regular council meeting was adjourned, the council met in a closed session to conduct Elbert’s performance evaluation. It was after this meeting that Elbert resigned.
Elbert was hired in July 2010.
The city originally offered Elbert a base salary of $56,000, but, after negotiations, Elbert and the city agreed on a base salary of $68,000, plus $2,000 for moving expenses, and severance pay of eight weeks for the first two years.
It appears that, since Elbert resigned, the city will not be required to provide severance pay.
The agreement stated that severance would only be paid if the city terminated Elbert’s contract for any reason other than for criminal acts.
During Wednesday’s emergency meeting, Stotko began the discussion by asking if the city needs to hire another administrator.
The council, by consensus, agreed that the city needs an administrator.
Next, the council discussed the process it will use to fill the administrator position.
Consensus was that the city council could take on at least some steps in the hiring process that were done by an outside contractor the last time.
Council member Bonnie Quast noted that during her 20 years on the city council, she and other council members have participated on a lot of boards for hiring employees.
“The results are in front of you,” Quast said. “We did a good job. We made good choices.”
Council member Tom Ollig said he would like the city to hire Shannon Sweeney of David Drown Associates (the company the city used during the process of hiring Elbert) or some other outside company to advertise the position and collect the applications.
“The (city) staff is going to have enough to do,” Ollig commented.
“We will be swamped getting ready for the audit,” clerk/treasurer Deb Boelter said.
Council member Dave Mochinski asked if the city needs to hire an administrator before the audit.
Ollig said that would give the city two months.
Boelter noted that the process to hire Elbert took two months.
The council discussed having Police Chief Mike Henrich conduct background checks on the final candidates.
When Elbert was hired, the background checks were among the services provided by Sweeney. Having the checks conducted by Henrich would be another way to bring more of the hiring process in house, as it was done in the past.
After discussion, the council approved a motion to begin the process of hiring a new city administrator, and directed Boelter to get bids from outside contractors to post a job opening for a new city administrator, collect and review applications, and reduce the pool to the top 10 or 15 applicants.
The council tentatively scheduled another meeting Wednesday, Feb. 9 to review the bids.
The council also discussed other outstanding city business, and how the city will proceed until a new administrator is hired.
For now, calls for Elbert will be routed to Boelter.
Stotko asked the council to help city staff wherever possible during the interim period, and also requested that city staff members ask the council for help when they need it.