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Ziegler resigns to apply

By Staff | Oct 21, 2012

Winnebago council members gathered in hopes to hire an interim but instead accepted another resignation.

The City Council held a special meeting Thursday to review applicants and hire an interim but with one less council member’s input, as Chris Ziegler resigned from his seat.

Ziegler presented his letter of resignation to the council to be effective immediately in order to be considered for the city administrator position.

Ziegler states in his resignation letter dated Oct. 12 that, “..due to the fact I have submitted an application for city administrator position, and to avoid perception of a conflict of interest, I have decided this is a prudent course of action.”

After approving his resignation, the remaining council members had to discuss the course of action they plan to take in regard to filling the open administrator position.

Previously, council members left three options on the table to be considered; accept resumes to fill the position, share an administrator with surrounding cities or eliminate the position and go back to operating with a city clerk. “You need to have a frank discussion about how we are to continue with this process,” says Austin Bleess, whose role as City Administrator ended Friday.

Councilman Scott Robertson had said at the Oct. 9 meeting that many community members would like to see these options explored before hiring.

“However, I am convinced we are big enough to need a full-time administrator,” he says. “You hear from community members that would like us to explore ways to save money and that’s not always the way to go.”

The council agreed that they need to continue the search for a full-time administrator to replace Bleess.

Council members also felt it was important to have someone on hand while the interview process takes place. So, they decided to hear from individuals who wish to fill the interim position.

At the last meeting, Jim Brimeyer and Dale Powers were the two names under consideration.

Powers withdrew his name as an option for interim to be considered for the full-time position.

Brimeyer was present at the special meeting along with Wendell Sande of South Central Service Cooperative of Mankato.

“I’ll make it easy on you, I’m withdrawing myself,” Brimeyer says. “I know Wendell, he knows what he’s doing and he’s closer. I wouldn’t be as available as I should be for you.”

Council agreed to hire Sande from SCSC which is the firm that assisted BEA?school district’s search for a new superintendent.

City Attorney Doug Johanson suggested Sande meet with Jeanne Kortum in order to discuss when Sande should be available.

“That would be the real starting point to coming up with a game plan for him at this point,” Johanson says.

With an interim in place, the council reviewed applicants for the full-time position.

The city received 11 applications at the time of the special meeting.

The council narrowed it down to six candidates and an alternate to be interviewed on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. From there, the council will choose the top three and hold second-round interviews on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.

The six are: Ziegler, Raymond French, Robin Leslie, Sam Hanson, Brian Molke and Sarah Friesen. The alternate is James Norman.