City hires Bailey to fill post
Blue Earth will soon have a new administrator at City Hall.
On Monday, the city council unanimously selected Kathy Bailey of Garden City as their choice for the position. Bailey is currently the city administrator in Madelia.
The council made the choice between two candidates: Bailey and Cheryl Nymann of Altura. Nymann had recently been the city clerk/treasurer at Oronoco, but had resigned in May.
Originally there were 15 applicants for the city’s top post. Interim City Administrator Bill Bassett had narrowed the field down to five, with four of those interviewed the previous Saturday.
Besides Bailey and Nymann, the other two finalists were Diane Miller of Canby and Alfred Vacanti of North Fond du Lac, Wisc. A fifth candidate, Julia Petit of Pomeroy, Iowa, was unable to be contacted about the interview schedule, Bassett told the council.
On Saturday, each candidate was interviewed by the full council and members of the EDA and the HRA boards.
After the interviews, each member of the various boards indicated who they favored for the post, and why. All of them chose either Bailey or Nymann, thus narrowing the field to two.
Monday night, at their regular meeting, the council again took a straw vote to see if a consensus could be reached.
Three of the council members preferred Bailey, while three leaned towards selecting Nymann. Mayor Rob Hammond broke the tie by saying he felt both were qualified for the position, but Bailey had more experience in larger towns.
Councilman Dick Maher had outlined his reasoning in choosing between Bailey and Nymann. He called both well qualified, but had been impressed with the fact that Nymann knew a lot about Blue “It’s the little things that make the difference,” Maher said. “She may be less experienced and from a smaller town, but her knowledge and personality set her apart.”
Maher was also concerned that Bailey may not move to Blue Earth, but will commute from Garden City. Nymann had said she would move here and even retire here.
Maher added that he did feel that it was important that whoever the council selected, it should be done with a unanimous vote.
Mayor Hammond agreed with the need for a unanimous vote, and said he also has a difficult time with an administrator not living in the community.
“However, I feel we should go with the best qualified candidate, and I feel comfortable that is Kathy,” he said.
Bailey said in an interview with the Register after the meeting that she was excited to be selected.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for me,” Bailey said. “Blue Earth looks like a great city, with caring and friendly people.”
Bailey said she is working on the contract with Bassett, and it should be finished this week.
She expects to be able to begin working in Blue Earth in two weeks. “I gave my 30 days notice here in Madelia, but I have two week’s vacation built up.”
Bailey has been the city administrator in Madelia since October 2006. Before that she held a similar post in Sherburn starting in July 1999.
She has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her M.A. is in Urban and Regional Studies — Public Administration.