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Brainerd City Council: Process of finding a city administrator

Brainerd City Council members met Thursday for the third time this week, this time to continue the process of finding a new city administrator.

Using the aid of Sharon Klumpp, senior vice president of the St. Paul-based executive hiring consultant agency, Springsted Incorporated, 10 applicants were narrowed down from a total starting field of 54, with 16 candidates brought for review to the council Thursday.

Two candidates received full council and Mayor James Wallin’s approval to move ahead with the screening process done by Klumpp and Springsted Incorporated, while each council member announced their top six candidates.

With some of the applicants looking at travel to interview, Klumpp also discussed was whether or not to reimburse candidates for travel expenses if needed, to which the council decided to not pay.

“I say we don’t pay,” said Council President Mary Koep. “If that person wants to come for an interview, I would like them to express the willingness to do so.”

Council member Bonnie Cumberland offered up the 21st-century idea of having a Skype session if necessary with out-of-town applicants.

“I think Skyping would be an option so we can see the individual and communicate, and it will save the city money,” said Cumberland.

All council agreed to further discuss interview problems down the road when the finalists are selected.

Klumpp will continue a more in-depth follow-up of the 10 selected candidates before bringing back more information to the council during a 6:45 p.m. Aug. 29 meeting.

During that meeting, council will proceed with their finalists and interviews with the council to be conducted tentatively Sept. 10 and 11.

“I think it’s important for us to keep moving forward with this in a timely fashion,” said Koep. “This is our administrator to serve this city and it’s one of the most important things on our plate right now. We do not want to sit on this.”

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).