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Search for finalists resumes

By Staff | May 1, 2010

Johanna Marzinske & Ted Schoonover

The latest development in Winnebago’s search for a city administrator — one of the two finalists has withdrawn.

That means the City Council’s hopes of hiring someone by their May meeting has gone by the wayside.

Council members made it clear Thursday night they want to have a choice when they select a new administrator.

So, the search for two more finalists begins today.

City officials had planned to interview Ted Schoonover of Red Oak, Iowa, and Johanna Marzinske of Mankato on Thursday night.

However, Schoonover had to withdraw due to his wife’s unexpected medical issues.

Schoonover says his wife was excited about the opportunity of being able to live closer to relatives in southeastern Min-nesota.

“I feel bad that I had to withdraw. But, my wife’s health and family matters come first and take top priority,” he says. “You never know, our paths may cross again.”

City Attorney Douglas Johanson presented the council with four options:

• interview just Marzinske;

• interview applicants not picked for the first round of finalist interviews;

• open up the position and have Marzinske be an automatic finalist;

• or start over completely.

City officials originally started with six finalists, but one withdrew and another decided not to do an interview.

“We’ve had a unique series of events. We need to do our due diligence for the city and do a few more interviews,” says Councilman Dana Gates.

All council members were in agreement with Gates. The council has decided the executive hiring committee will review some of the original applications and pick three to five candidates to be interviewed at 7 p.m. on May 13.

The council will use the same 20-question format used before and will score each candidate on a “1 to 5” point system with 5 being the best.

The top two will move on to the second round with Marzinske.

Those interviews will be held at 9 a.m. on May 22.

Resident Josh Malchow asked if candidates already interviewed would be eligible for the second round.

Councilman Chris Ziegler says the council should be able to select candidates who interviewed this first time.

Councilman Rick Johnson says those candidates — Sarah Friesen of Mountain Lake and Kenneth Bucholz of Red Wing — do not have to participate in first-round interviews again.