Moore to start on Monday
The city of Blue Earth has now officially hired a new city administrator.
On Monday evening, the Blue Earth City Council went into closed session at the end of their regular meeting to discuss the contract with Kim Moore.
When they came out of closed session, the council voted unanimously to accept the contract. Moore’s contract calls for her to start in her new position on April 1, but mayor Rick Scholtes announced that Moore will actually be starting this coming Monday, March 9.
Moore is currently living in Amery, Wisconsin, and is the former city administrator in Amery.
On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the council had interviewed three candidates for the city administrator position; Moore, Mary Kennedy and Devin Swanberg. Kennedy is the current economic development specialist in Blue Earth and Swanberg is the economic development director in Pine Island.
The council had met after the interviews and voted to offer a contract to Moore. She had accepted it last Friday, and the council then accepted it this past Monday, when it then became official.
The contract runs for two years, until March 31, 2022. It calls for Moore to be paid a salary of $90,000 per year, have three weeks of paid vacation and 40 hours of sick leave per year.
The council had a long discussion about other personnel matters in the work session before the regular meeting began
Public Works Department supervisor Jamie Holland was at the work session to give an update on all the projects and work going on with the department, including numbers of employees, both full time and part time.
The council discussed whether there is a need to increase the number of employees due to the amount of work, and whether the employees should be full time or part time or seasonal.
“It is getting harder to get those summer workers,” Holland said. “Last summer we didn’t get full staffing.”
Most are students and Holland says they start into the summer and then leave in August.
“We sometimes get them trained in and they are gone,” he says. “If they come back the next year they are usually very good workers.”
Councilman Glenn Gaylord suggested higher pay if they come back after the first year, but city attorney David Frundt said the council has to be careful about equal pay classifications. That means others in the same job classification would also have to be compensated at that rate.
After Holland listed all of the items his staff does, Gaylord also suggested the city might have to hire another one or two full time employees.
“We have created more work for your department by adding park areas, more camping areas, ball park facilities, things like that,” Gaylord said. “And when we get visitors to the city, we do want the parks and areas to look nice.”
Holland said the issue is a bit that the majority of the work needs to be done in the spring, summer and fall. The winter is mainly maintenance and snow removal.
Mayor Scholtes suggested a seasonal worker might work, with the worker laid off over winter and able to collect unemployment compensation.
The matter was sent to the Personnel Committee for further investigation, review of options and to make recommendations back to the council.
Also at last Monday night’s meeting, the council:
Heard from Blue Earth Area Schools superintendent Mandy Fletcher about a special program coming to the school on Tuesday, March 24.
It features motivational speaker Joe Boeckman and will be held at 6 p.m. and will be open to the public. There will also be a free-will donation supper served before the presentation.
Also heard from Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce director Emily Lange about a chamber event called a “State of the City” report. It will be held on Wednesday, March 25.
The event will feature a report from mayor Scholtes as well as various city department heads plus a report on the BEA Schools from superintendent Fletcher on the state of the School District.
Voted to offer discounted memberships to the Faribault County Fitness Center, which is owned by the city, to all city employees. The city’s health insurance company dropped doing reimbursements for fitness center memberships.
The normal fee for an annual membership is $360, so it would be $180 for city employees, including any paid persons, which would also include City Council members.
Family memberships, normally at $480, would not be cut in half, but would be dropped by the same $180.
Voted to spend $300 with KBEW radio for a “Shop Local” ad campaign.