Amos, Schneider favor in-house hiring process
With City Administrator Anne Hurlburt retiring this fall, the Scandia City Council will soon start looking for her replacement. Two local consulting firms have submitted bids to assist in the process.
Sharon Klumpp of Springsted, Inc. attended the council’s April 10 work session. The Springsted proposal would cost $7,800 plus out-of-pocket expenses, estimated at $500, and background checks at $400 each.
A proposal from Brimeyer Fursman was for $15,900, plus expenses up to $3,200.
Klumpp previously worked with the New Scandia Town Board in hiring Hurlburt in 2006. The cost of that search was $9,132.
For next week’s meeting Klumpp will submit an agreement for the council to review.
Klumpp said she scaled down the standard Springsted proposal by substituting a workshop with the whole council for one-on-one meetings. At the workshop she would learn about the council’s priorities and expectations for the city administrator position.
Klumpp said she would help the council with salary and benefits questions and would negotiate with the candidate chosen.
By state statute, she said, residency is not required for the city administrator. “Once you put housing into the mix, that changes the dynamics,” she said. “If you expect them to live here, you have to talk about it.”
Council members Connie Amos and Jim Schneider questioned the need to hire a consultant.
“I’m still wondering what can she do that we can’t,” Amos said.
Schneider added, “I’d like to keep it on a smaller scale and do it ourselves.”
Hurlburt managed the hiring process for other city workers, including maintenance superintendent, but prefers not to handle this one. “I would like to separate from the process,” she said. “I’m comfortable hiring a lot of the positions, but not this one.”
Hurlburt said it would be wise for the council to use a consultant rather than relying only on the information available from applications and resumes. “If you hire Sharon,” she said, “they’ve been vetted; you know they can do the job.”
Council member Sally Swanson noted that the Springsted proposal included a guarantee to perform another executive search if the new administrator voluntarily resigns or is dismissed for cause in the first year.
Council member Chris Ness was absent from the meeting.
Choosing from five redistricting plan options submitted by Washington County, the council unanimously supported the only option that keeps Scandia in the same district as Forest Lake and Hugo.
The county board intends to choose new districts for county commissioner and soil and water conservations districts on April 17, and asked for feedback from cities and townships.
The other four proposals group Scandia, Marine on St. Croix, and May Township with Stillwater and other cities on the east side of the county. If one of these is adopted, “we could end up with a county commissioner who lives in Afton,” City Administrator Hurlburt remarked.
Melanie Trail, on the east side of Bone Lake, may become the second Scandia road converted to gravel in two years. Last year the city turned 237th Street to gravel.
According to city staff, patching no longer works on Melanie Trail, and snow plowing is affected. Full reconstruction is estimated at $784,000. Reclaiming and replacing the bituminous surface would cost $420,000. The 2012 road repair budget is $300,000.
Converting the road to gravel would cost about $38,000. If this option is chosen, the amount left for patching and seal coating roads this summer would be $215,000, plus $47,000 for other contractual patching, dust control, tree services, and road striping.
Taking up the pavement on Melanie Trail would have to be done as part of any larger fix, so the $38,000 would not be money lost.
A meeting with Melanie Trail residents to discuss options will be scheduled. If the city borrows money to repair the road, at least 20 percent of the assessed cost must be borne by property owners.
From past road projects, fire hall, and equipment purchases, Scandia is paying $351,558 of its 2012 tax levy toward debt financing. That number decreases each year until 2018, when it goes to zero.
Quinnell Avenue, located near the St. Croix River, is also in poor condition. Hurlburt said Scandia has money that can be used only for Quinnell, since Washington County turned that street over to the city.
For this summer, City Engineer Ryan Goodman recommends patching and seal coating roads with a PASER rating of 5 or higher. The proposed list includes 240th Street, 220th Street east of TH-95, Quarry Avenue, 205th Court, Quadrant Avenue, 209th Court and 209th Street from Quadrant to TH-95 and from Ozark to Penrose, Quality Trail, Ozark Avenue and Ozark Court, Penrose Avenue, Parkview Avenue and Parkview Lane, Oxboro Lane and Oxboro Circle, 197th Street and 197th Street Court, 195th Street west of Old Marine Trail, Orwell Avenue from 202nd to 197th, and 202nd Street from Olinda to Orwell.
Goodman will prepare specifications for the seal coating project but not get bids until Forest Lake is also ready, which results in lower costs. He added that the city gets better prices by grouping streets, “so the contractor is not driving all over town,” he said. The 2012 streets listed are all located on the east side, mostly in the southeast quadrant.
But this method has drawbacks. For example, Goodman said, Kirk Avenue (in the northwest quadrant) is so rutted that a low-riding car might get hung up.
Repairs to the warming house at Leonard Wojtowicz Skating Park can be accepted in exchange for a rental fee to use the building, the council agreed.
According to member Swanson, the Wojtowicz family plans to donate materials and labor for stucco work and painting, and would like to use the warming house on June 17 for their grandmother’s birthday party.
The city can’t waive the rental fee, but can accept an in-kind donation. The item will appear on a future meeting agenda, after the city receives a written request from the family.