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Brainerd City Council interviews city administrators

Brainerd City Council members have had a busy two days, as applicants for the vacant city administrator position came into town for interviews and city tours Sept. 10 and 11.

A total of six candidates made it to the official interview stage with council members, a number that was cut down from the starting field of 54 applicants.

Following the conclusion of all interviews, council made a motion to offer the position to Nathan Burkett, contingent on a background check and employment contract negotiations.

Those interviewed Monday and Tuesday included:

• Nathan Burkett — Burkett currently holds the county administrator position in Todd County, based out of Long Prairie and has done so since 2008. Prior to that he was a consultant project manager at Maximus Financial Services, Inc., in Bloomington from 2006-08 and a legal specialist with the Minnesota Army National Guard from 2001-2004.

Burkett graduated from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and public administration before earning his master of public administration at Hamline University and a policy fellow of Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

• Brian Heck — Heck is in pursuit of his third city administrator position. Currently acting as interim city administrator with the city of Wells since 2012, he was city administrator with the city of Shorewood from 2008-12 and with the city of Lauderdale before that from 2005-08. Before city administrator responsibilities, Heck was an overnight team lead with the Target Corporation in Plymouth from 2004-05 and a director of vehicle services with the state of Minnesota from 2000-04. He was also county coordinator of Pine County from 1995-2000, special projects administrator in Wright County from 1992-95 and administrative analyst in St. Louis Park from 1989-92.

Heck earned an associate’s degree in English from North Hennepin Community College before moving on to his bachelor’s degree in English and communication from Hamline University. He continued on to his master’s of arts in local government, administration and labor relations at Hamline.

• Nathan Mathews — City administrator in Staples since 2007, Mathews previously held the position of city administrator-clerk-treasurer in Winnebago from 2003-07. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and music from St. John’s University and a master of public administrator and municipal management from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

• Joel Peck — At first a journalism major with a bachelor’s degree from North Central University, Peck earned his master’s in public administration at Hamline University. The city administrator of St. Croix Falls since 2011, he was Crosby’s city administrator from 2008-11 and an intern with the League of Minnesota Cities in St. Paul from 2007-08. Past work experience for Peck includes being an intern with the St. Paul District Police Department in 2006 and a beat reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake from 2001-03.

• Greg Pruszinske — Holding the position of city administrator in Becker since 2008, Pruszinske was first the assistant city administrator in Becker from 1996-2008 and the interim city administrator for Becker beginning in September of 2008 until December of 2008. Before working with Becker, he was the shared city administrator for the cities of Danvers, Holloway and Murdock from 1993-95. Pruszinske also worked as assistant to sergeant at arms for the Minnesota State Senate from 1992-93 and as a student intern with Morrison County Community Development in 1990. He earned his bachelor’s in political science and local and urban affairs at St. Cloud State University and took graduate course work in public administration at Hamline University.

• Larry Thompson — Thompson presently is the president at American Artstone Company in New Ulm, a position he has held since January of this year. Before that, he was city manager of Winona from Jan. 2011 until Nov. 2011. He was vice president of two companies in the Twin Cities — with Concero Companies in Oakdale from April 2009-Dec. 2010 and Sienna Corporation in Edina from Nov. 1997-Dec. 2008 — and held city administration positions in River Falls from Dec. 1995-Nov. 1997 and Farmington from March 1983-Sept. 1995. Prior to that Thompson was the clerk treasurer in Belle Plaine from March 1980-1983. Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a masters in public administration from Minnesota State University ­— Mankato.

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