Changes coming for staff at BE City Hall
There are a lot of smiling, friendly faces at the Blue Earth City Hall.
Some have been there for many years, and for one, it has only been a couple of months.
“We are very blessed with having such a great staff here at the city of Blue Earth,” city administrator Tim Ibisch says. “I am fortunate to be surrounded by such qualified people, who do such a great job and work so well together.”
And since the staff at the City Hall does a lot of dealing with the citizens of the city, it is important that they do it in a professional and friendly way, Ibisch adds.
“And we all try to do it with a smile,” he says, smiling.
Here is a look at who you will see when you visit the Blue Earth City Hall.
And who you won’t.
Sue Hauskins is just two months shy of having been employed at the City Hall for the last 21 years.
And, while she is still technically employed there until March 17, when she will officially retire, you won’t see her there, as she is using up her accrued vacation time, from Jan. 27 until March 17.
Hauskins says it would be easier to list what she didn’t do during her years at the city, than try and list what she did do.
Starting out with the title of secretary, her official title changed to administrative assistant then to office specialist.
From greeting citizens when they came in, to answering the phone to coordinating between all the city departments, preparing the council meeting packets to writing up the council minutes, Hauskins did all that and much more.
She would also issue the variety of licenses and permits that people came in to request. And explain all the rules of the city to them.
And what she started out doing all by hand is now mainly done on the computer system.
“I even did things like meet dog owners out at the animal shelter to release the dog back to the owner,” Hauskins says, with a laugh. “Whatever needed to be done, I did it.”
Hauskins recalls working with four different city administrators Dave Erbia, Ben Martig, Kathy Bailey and Tim Ibisch as well as a number of interim administrators.
Now when citizens go in the front door of the City Hall they are greeted by a new, but equally smiling, face.
Echo Roggenkamp is the new office specialist who was hired to replace Hauskins.
Roggenkamp just recently moved to Blue Earth from Ankeny, Iowa. Her first day on the job for the city was Jan. 9 Sue Hauskins birthday.
Originally from Edinburg, Pennsylvania, Roggenkamp had worked in a bank for three years, and is also co-owner of the Timberlake Orchard in Fairmont.
At the end of August, Nancy Thompson will be completing 30 years with the city of Blue Earth, and yes, she too plans to retire at that time (and use up her accrued vacation time before that final date).
Thompson is the Deputy City Clerk and says she mostly works in the financial department of the city offices, and admits she doesn’t see a lot of people in her office.
“Besides all the financial work I do each month, I also work on all the election details during an election year,” she says. “That includes setting up for the voting, the candidate filing for office everything to do with elections.”
But most of the time she is kept busy keeping track of lots and lots of numbers. She works closely with the auditors when it is time to do the city audit.
“I have seen a lot of council members and six city administrators come and go,” Thompson says. “And you know, they all have been great to work with. They all had their way of doing things, and things would change, but you know, change is good.”
The one constant at the City Hall over the years has been “the girls in the office,” as Thompson refers to herself and the others.
“I have been with them for 20 of my 30 years at the city, and they have been wonderful to work with,” Thompson says.
Bonnie Ankeny is the fourth “girl” and while her job title is also office specialist, her work is a bit different than the others.
Plus, she works both at the City Hall and at the Blue Earth Police Department at the BE Public Safety Building (police and fire hall).
“I am here at City Hall in the mornings and at the police department in the afternoons,” Ankeny says. “And I really enjoy my job, and working at both places.”
Ankeny has also been working for the city for many years, just coming up on her 19th anniversary.
“I started in March of 1998,” she recalls.
Like the others, Ankeny does a variety of work for the city. Besides doing all the book work for the police department, she also is involved with the books for the EDA, the HRA, the pool and other city departments and sub-committees.
She also works on the paperwork involved for city projects, variance requests property taxes and a lot more.
City administrator Ibisch can’t say enough about the staff at the City Hall, and all of the city employees in all departments.
Ibisch himself started his employment with the city of Blue Earth in November of 2014, so he has been at the post for two years, four months.
“I guess you can think of my job as what a chief operating officer is in private business,” Ibisch says. “I deal a lot with the council, the HRA, EDA boards, and all the department heads, city attorney, city engineer and others.”
In addition, Ibisch is now in charge of the city-owned Ag Center, as well as overseeing the city’s other entities the pool, fitness center, liquor store, library and senior center.
“But with such a good staff in place, I can say the city of Blue Earth is operating very well,” Ibisch concludes.