The Blue Earth City Council is going to have some assistance in their search for a new city administrator.
And, the help won't put much of a dent in the city budget.
At a special meeting held last Monday night, the council voted to hire South Central Service Cooperative (SCSC) to conduct the administrator search.
"Because the city is already one of our cooperative members, there is no fee for this executive search," SCSC shared services coordinator Wendell Sande told the council. "The only cost to the city will be for mileage and our out-of-pocket expenses."
Sande says SCSC will conduct a national search for an administrator and that the whole process will take a minimum of 90 days.
In the meantime, Sande had a suggestion for the council as far as hiring an interim administrator. "Todd Bodem is a person I have worked with before," Sande told the council. "He is from Big Lake but has also worked in Waseca."
The council voted to give Mayor Rick Scholtes the authority to hire Bodem. Then at a special meeting on Thursday afternoon the council voted 5-1 to hire Bodem. Councilman Russ Erichsrud cast the dissenting vote.
Bodem will start this Monday, June 30, at 8 a.m., according to his contract. He will be paid $7,000 per month.
"We need to have an interim person, with as much as we have going on in the city at this time," Mayor Scholtes said, holding up a file full of city items he has to deal with. The other councilmen agreed.
Sande laid out a plan for hiring a new administrator.
"The first thing I?want to do is meet with each of the councilmen individually," Sande said. "I want to know what each of you is looking for in a new administrator, so that the person we find can fulfill the role of what the council wants."
In other business at Monday's meeting, the council also passed an ordinance which will increase their salaries beginning in 2015.
The vote, however, was not unanimous. Councilmen Dan Brod and John Gartzke both voted no, resulting in passage of the ordinance by a 5-2 margin.
"I don't think we are in this for the money," Gartzke said before the vote. "So I am not in favor of increasing it and I intend to vote no."
Councilman Glenn Gaylord said the salary has not been increased since he has been on the council.
"In fact, when I first got on the council there was a mileage stipend of $25 per month and we voted to do away with that," Gaylord said. "This increase just basically gets us back to where we were before."
The increase puts the salary for councilmen at $300 per month and at $400 per month for the mayor.
The council also went into a closed session on the police officer Chad Bonin case and received an update from staff.
At a special meeting on Thursday, the council had another closed session on the case, but then voted in the open part of the meeting to place officer Bonin on a three day unpaid suspension from city employment.
Another closed session on Monday dealt with the settlement through mediation of a threatened or pending lawsuit against the city from a former employee.
Patricia Beety, an attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities, said after the closed session that an agreement had been reached in the case, but no details, including the name of the former employee, was released by Beety to the public at that time.
However, the City Council voted unanimously during the open session to accept the terms of the mediation settlement proposal as had been presented in the closed session.