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Blue Earth hires administrator

By Staff | Oct 12, 2014

After a full afternoon of interviews and an evening of meetings, the Blue Earth City Council selected their choice for a new city administrator.

The council voted to offer the position to Timothy P. Ibisch, of Columbus, Wis. However, the vote was not unanimous.

Mayor Rick Scholtes said on Wednesday that Ibisch had accepted the city’s offer and had signed the contract.

Scholtes said the contract calls for a starting date of Nov. 1. However, he added that the new administrator plans on spending some time in Blue Earth before that date to get acquainted with city staff and the community.

The final decision of which of three finalists to hire for the job as city administrator started over the noon hour last Monday when the council held a meet and greet open house for the three men.

Then at 2 p.m. they interviewed candidate Travis Bistodeau, of Bloomington. At 3 p.m. they interviewed Daniel Lenz, of Laurence, Kansas. And, at 4 p.m. they interviewed Ibisch.

At 5 p.m. the council held a regular meeting that included a closed session to determine the details of a contract for a new city administrator.

When they came back into open session, they discussed which of the three they liked the best.

Councilmen John Gartzke and Russ Erichsrud and mayor Scholtes all picked Ibisch. Councilmen Glenn Gaylord and John Huisman felt the best choice was Bistodeau, while councilman Dan Brod went with Lenz. (Councilwoman Chelsey Haase was not present.)

Each council representative gave their reasons for their choices.

Gartzke said he liked the fact Ibisch was originally from southern Minnesota and he liked his enthusiasm and the fact that he had served in the military.

“And he has the training and the experience to be qualified for the job,” he added.

Brod said he felt this was the best bunch of finalists for city administrator he had ever seen and called it a very difficult choice. However he felt Lenz had the best ideas for the city of Blue Earth.

Gaylord wanted Bistodeau because he felt he had the best education and career background in city government.

“He is the best fit for us, and the best candidate for the job,” he said.

Erichsrud said he felt Ibisch had the best city background and experience with city budgets. He also liked his excitement and enthusiasm for coming to Blue Earth.

Huisman felt Bistodeau’s solid career background and education were the best of the three.

“He has the best array of work experiences in Dakota County, St. Cloud and Bloomington,” Huisman said.

Mayor Scholtes said it had been very tough to narrow seven candidates down to three, and that “now getting the choice down to one was really tough.”

“But my choice is Timothy (Ibisch),” the mayor continued. “I feel he has a rural background and will fit into our rural community the best.”

The mayor also said communication between the council, administrator, staff and community is important and he felt Ibisch would do the best job in that area.

When it came time for the vote to hire Ibisch, the council was split 4-2. Huisman and Gaylord both voted no.