By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Knowing that whomever the Delano City Council hires to take over the reins of the Delano Senior Center upon Gail Sinkel’s retirement will have big shoes to fill, the council hired Nick Neaton last week from a pool of 43 applicants.
Over the past two months, city staff has worked on the recruitment and review process for the position of senior and community services coordinator, according to City Administrator Phil Kern.
Based on past work experience, education, and demonstrated skills, staff narrowed the application field to the top nine candidates.
The candidates went through an initial interview process, which consisted of five stakeholders:
• Ted May, senior center participant/volunteer and coordinator of several programs;
• Deb Taylor, Senior Community Services executive director;
• Diane Johnson, Delano Community Education executive director;
• Jason Dreger, firefighter and senior center advisory committee member;
• Tammy Matthees, housing coordinator.
This interview group helped the city narrow the candidate field to four.
Kern, along with Brian Bloch and Devin Massopust, interviewed the remaining four candidates, ultimately selecting Neaton.
Neaton is currently the 4-H Coordinator for Wright County. He has an undergraduate degree in geography and mass communications. In May, he completed a master’s degree in education.
He has spent the last five years working in Wright County with the 4-H program. In this role, he’s managed all aspects of a program with 600-plus participants and over 160 adult volunteers.
In programming for 4-H, Neaton has experience working with persons of all ages and has fostered relationships with many community-oriented organizations.
The program has grown under his leadership, and he’s successfully implemented similar programs in other communities in Wright County, according to Kern.
“In his interviews, he displayed a very articulate, yet friendly and personable communication style,” Kern said. “He seems genuine in his interactions and has a strong willingness and ability for continued learning. I believe he will be a great fit for this position and provide a smooth transition.”
Kern said he is excited for the future of senior services in Delano under Neaton’s leadership.
“We received strong statements of support from community members who know Nick, stating he’d be an excellent candidate for this opportunity,” he said. “We’re pleased that he’s going to be joining our team.”
Neaton will begin work Tuesday, June 24, replacing Sinkel, who has filled this position for the city and Senior Community Services since 1983.