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Two sisters start new jobs in BE

By Staff | Jul 12, 2020

Mary Kennedy, left, is the new Blue Earth city administrator, and her sister, Amy Schaefer, right, is the new economic development specialist for the city’s EDA, hired through CEDA. Both started work last week.

Two sisters started working for the city of Blue Earth last week.

On Monday, July 6, Mary Kennedy officially started her duties as the new city administrator in Blue Earth.

Just a day later, on Tuesday, July 7, Kennedy’s sister, Amy Schaefer, started working as the economic development specialist for the city of Blue Earth.

Kennedy had been the economic development specialist for the city, until she was tapped to be the new city administrator.

The economic development specialist is actually employed by Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA) and serves the city of Blue Earth under a contract between CEDA and the city.

With Kennedy leaving her CEDA employment in order to become the city administrator, CEDA hired Schaefer to be her replacement.

“There were three applications for the position,” Blue Earth mayor Rick Scholtes told the City Council last Monday night at their regular meeting. “They were all interviewed twice by the CEDA management and once here in Blue Earth last Wednesday (July 1).”

Scholtes says all three were unique in their own way but Schaefer stood out above the other two.

Schaefer grew up in Mankato and is a graduate of Mankato East High School. She then attended Mankato State University for one year and South Central Technical College for one year.

“I worked in the surgery department at the hospital in Mankato,” Schaefer says. “Then I met my husband, Marty Schaefer, and he was from Buffalo Center, Iowa, so we moved there.”

She worked 12 years in the Buffalo Center City Hall. Three years ago she switched jobs and started working at the North Iowa School District to be more on the same schedule as her children.

The Schaefers have three sons: Max, 17, a junior; Charlie, 14, a ninth grader; and Henry, 9, a fourth grader.

“We go to lots of sporting events,” Schaefer says. “The boys are in lots of sports, and there is baseball here in Iowa, including high school baseball this summer.”

Another summer activity for the Schaefers is camping.

“We try and get away to go camping, but, of course, this summer has been a little different,” she says. “We had a big long camping trip planned, but then we decided to postpone that until next year.”

When this EDA position opened up, Schaefer decided she would apply.

“I really missed city government, and missed learning about the community and being involved with it,” she says. “This was a unique opportunity to get back into it, and work with Mary. It was good timing for our family, too.

Schaefer says she is a little familiar with Blue Earth, especially the stores and restaurants.

“We have shopped here quite often over the last 20 years,” she says. “I’m familiar with most of the stores, especially Bougars. We also go to places like Cedar Inn and Double Play and other restaurants.”

She is eager to get out and meet the business owners and the rest of the citizens of Blue Earth.

“I want to listen to community members and learn what they want done, and what they think about things,” she says. “I know I have a lot to learn and I plan on spending time getting to know everyone and what projects are currently in the works. I am ready to jump in and get going.”

Her sister, Mary, the new city administrator is no stranger to Blue Earth or the businesses and citizens here.

Kennedy came to Blue Earth in January of 2018 to be the CEDA-employed economic development specialist for the city.

Kennedy grew up in Fairmont, graduated from Fairmont High School and then went off to St. Cloud State, where she majored in Planning and Community Development.

After two years she transferred to Minnesota State University, Mankato, and graduated from their Urban and Regional Studies Program.

She interned with the city of Jordan in their city planning department, and then was hired by CEDA and came to Blue Earth under their contract with the city to supply an economic development specialist.

Kennedy applied for the city administrator position last December when then administrator Tim Ibisch resigned to take a position in Kasson.

Kennedy was a finalist, but the council decided to go with a more experienced person, Kim Moore. When Moore resigned on May 27, the council opted to offer the position to Kennedy and not advertise the position again.

“I am very excited about being the city administrator here in Blue Earth,” Kennedy says. “I get to work with a great city staff who I already know well. And I have worked with a lot of the businesses in the city and have gotten to know a lot of people here.”

Kennedy says she is ready to work hard for the city of Blue Earth.

“I am going to be a very strong advocate for whatever the citizens, department heads, staff and City Council members want to see happen here,” she says. “I have a feeling great things are about to happen, and I am just lucky to be here, help where I can, and be a part of it.”