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Brainerd City Council: Goble to remain interim city administrator

After acting as interim city administrator since former administrator Dan Vogt’s retirement in June, the Brainerd City Council voted Monday to keep Theresa Goble in that position until it again begins the hunt for suitable candidates, tentatively set for spring 2013.

As of late, Goble has been working as both interim city administrator and finance director. As a stipulation to taking the council’s offer for her to remain as interim city administrator, she listed some conditions in a memo to council, including:

• The promotion of Connie Hillman to finance director at 90 percent of position base wage.

• Backfill thePR/accounting specialist position and remove the accounting specialist duties from the position and substitute human resources administrative support. Position would be at an 85 percent of wage with primary duties being payroll and human resource administrative support. Goble said this is a lower rate than currently being paid because the accounting specialist duties would not be included in the position.

• Goble would retire when a new administrator is hired. There would be no overlap in time with her and the new administrator.

“I appreciate the consideration of the offer and all of the continued support for me in this (interim city administrator) position,” said Goble. “But I can not accept it unless I remove myself as finance director. In addition, to have that backfill would help the city tremendously in running as efficient as possible.”

Council voted 6-1 to approve keeping Goble under the listed conditions with council member Bob Olson voting no. Olson said that while he thinks Goble has done a good job as interim city administrator, he doesn’t think it’s necessary to add a backfill position or promote Hillman to finance director.

“Theresa (Goble) has done a fine job as interim city administrator and as finance director,” said Olson. “But I strongly disapprove the idea of spending more of the citizens tax dollars to have an administrative specialist when it’s not needed.

“The city has run fine the past few months the way it is and I cannot support this.”

Council had previously offered the city administrator position to Nathan Burkett, current county administrator in Todd County. Burkett withdrew from consideration for the position Sept. 17.

Council President Mary Koep offered other options during Monday’s meeting before moving ahead with offering the interim position to Goble. Koep presented the option of hiring Joel Peck — a candidate named as a finalist and interviewed by council members Sept. 11 — following a possible second interview. Most council members agreed that Peck was a strong candidate but ultimately decided to take a step back and stick with Goble, exploring other applicants at a later date.

Changes will be effectively made Oct. 1.