By Ivan Raconteur
Lester Prairie City Council put its support behind a current city staff member Tuesday, voting to offer the new position of economic development coordinator to public works employee Adam Birkholz.
The council first approved changes to a recently-created job description for the new full-time position, then voted to fill the position.
A proposal from David Drown Associates, which the city has used as a consultant during the process of creating this position, states the cost to have the company conduct a candiate search would be $3,600.
Council Member Tim Dahl suggested that opening the position to outside candidates would best serve the citizens of Lester Prairie.
Mayor Eric Angvall said he does not agree.
Anvgvall said if the city were to hire an outside candidate, the city would end up paying that employee for months for nothing, because the employee would not know about the city.
City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk said the city could pay to recruit someone from outside the city, and the person might only stay a short time, and then the city would have to pay to recruit another candidate.
It was noted that this has happened in other local cities when hiring city administrators.
Angvall said one reason for hiring Birkholz is that the city would not have to interview him.
Pawelk said Birkholz is invested in the community and has worked for the city for more than 15 years.
She said even though Birkholz does not have a degree, he is close, and he knows a lot about the community.
If the council is not satisfied with the work he is doing after one year, it could terminate his employment, Pawelk noted.
After discussion, the council voted unanimously to offer the job to Birkholz.
No salary range has yet been determined. The council appointed a committee consisting of Angvall, Pawelk, and Council Member Ron Foust to put togehter a job offer, and present it to the full council for approval.