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Wells hires administrator

By Staff | Sep 30, 2012

Pending the outcome of a background check, the city of Wells will have a new city administrator.

On Monday, the City Council unanimously voted to make an offer to Steve Bloom of Miltona – a small town located north of Alexandria.

“It’s a general concensus of the council that he looks like the best fit for the city,” says Mayor Ron Gaines. “Any of the three could have done a great job.”

Bloom and two other finalists – Sarah Friesen of Minneota and Marc Dennison of Black Earth, Wis., – each answered 11 questions from council members during interviews held on Friday, Sept. 21.

A fourth candidate – Mark Baker of Holstein, Iowa – withdrew his name from consideration prior to the interviews.

Bloom has nearly 25 years of experience in city and county government that includes economic development. He’s also worked six years in education as a teacher.

“I’m very eager and anxious to start. I’m impressed with the community and its potential, and the way it is being operated,” he says.

Council members agreed to offer Bloom an annual salary of $60,000, plus benefits.

Councilwoman Ann Marie Schuster says all of the finalists had many strengths and it was nice to have a tough choice when it came time to making a decision.

“When I look to what the city needs, Steve has the experience and background,” she says.

Bloom and city officials have yet to work out details of his contract, which are generally for one to three years.

“I’m sure there won’t be issues we can’t agree on,” he says.

Bloom taking a job in Wells will be a return to his southern Minnesota roots.

He graduated from Okabena High School in 1978 and then Mankato State University with a bachelor of science degree in community health/planning.

After working several years in the public sector – including four years as Martin County coordinator and EDA director – Bloom earned a master’s degree in political science/public administration from Mankato State University in 1992.

Bloom touts himself as a person who, “leads by example” and does not manage like a dictator.

“I like open communication and being a team leader,” he says. “I empower people and want employees to gain ownership in what they are doing.”

He says he’ll do whatever is necessary to promote the city.

Bloom sees the city’s business base, downtown district, its cleanliness and overall appearance as positives that provide opportunities for growth.

“I just want to work and make Wells a better place to live,” he says. “I’ll be visible, accessible and part of the community. People will know who I am when I walk down the street.”

Bloom could be on the job as soon as today and will have some big projects to work on when he starts.

In addition to completing the 2013 budget, Gaines says the new city administrator will be involved in the hiring of a new street department supervisor and community development director.

Interim city administrator Brian Heck told the council he will work with Bloom for a smooth transition.

“I will be there for him for a full week,” he says.

Heck, who already has another interim job waiting for him at Thief River Falls, also has applied for a full-time position in Faribault.