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Finalist selection delayed

By Staff | Apr 17, 2010

Johanna Marzinske

Although hiring a new Winnebago city administrator may have gotten a little easier with the withdrawal of one candidate, the selection process has been slightly altered.

The City Council interviewed four candidates Thursday night, while Mark Baker of Holstein, Iowa, requested his interview be rescheduled to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Interviewed were Ted Schoonover of Red Oak, Iowa; Sarah Friesen of Mountain Lake; Johanna Marzinske of Mankato; and Kenneth Bucholz of Red Wing.

Each candidate answered 20 questions ranging from management style, organizational skills, experience with labor unions and “first impressions” of the community.

The candidates are scored on a “1 to 5” point system for each question, with 5 being the best.

Ken Buchholz

Council members will choose three finalists on Tuesday and call them back for a follow-up interview this Thursday.

Schoonover, who retired from the Iowa Army National Guard, is the current Mont-gomery County deputy auditor and is serving his third term as mayor of Red Oak, a town with a population of about 6,400. Schoonover says he’s looking to move north because his wife wants to be closer to family.

“I’m sure there are some learning curves I will have to go through, but I don’t foresee that as a problem,” he says.

Schoonover says his military and government backgrounds give him the leadership skills necessary for the job.

“I’m a self-starter. I don’t need someone prodding me in the back. I don’t like to put things off, so I try to prioritize to get projects done,” he adds.

Sarah Friesen

Friesen has worked 11 years as a city administrator, mainly in small rural communities like Mountain Lake and Spring Park.

She says working in Winnebago would be within driving distance of Mountain Lake, where her husband farms.

Friesen says her past duties “run the gamut” and would help her if hired.

“I have much experience as a city administrator and it has been in small communities, comparable to Winnebago,” she says. “This would be similar to what I have done in the past.”

Marzinske, a St. Clair native, believes growing up on a farm and her education has prepared her to be an administrator.

Ted Schoonover

“I’m a thinker and problem-solver. I grew up with that mentality,” she says.

Marzinske is a financial specialist with Blue Earth County and has a degree in psychology. She just completed a master’s degree in public administration.

“My personal goal was to finish school. It wasn’t easy. I have two young children, a husband and a full-time job. And, I have managed to hold my G.P.A. at 4.0,” she says.

Marzinske believes she has obtained organizational and leadership skills by supervising a volunteer staff and serving four years as vice president for a local union chapter in Blue Earth County.

Bucholz’s work experience includes five months as administrator-clerk-treasurer in Frazee and as an administrator intern in Red Wing.

“I have a passion for city administration, my father is in public administration. I grew up with it,” he says. “I never get bored with it. This is something I can see myself doing the rest of my life.”

Bucholz has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from St. Cloud State University and a master’s in public administration from Hamline University.

Bucholz would use a “team approach” when handling responsibilities but realizes there are times he’ll have to decide on his own.

“I like to get all sides of a project and involve all the people who will be affected” he says. “I also like the council’s perspective.”

Council members are hoping to have someone hired by their May meeting.