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Nisswa: P&Z administrator resigns; city starts hiring process

Echo Journal file photo.

Desmond McGeough, Nisswa's planning and zoning administrator since June 2017, resigned effective Friday, Feb. 15. The city council accepted his resignation, authorized filling the position and discussed ways to do so Monday, Feb. 11.

The council ultimately agreed to have City Administrator Jenny Max start the hiring process.

Brief discussion included whether the city should recruit applicants or contract with David Drown Associates to do so.

City council member Don Jacobson noted the city has hired three city administrators in the past four years.

"A city our size is a stepping stone," he said, noting it's hard to retain a P&Z administrator.

Jacobson said the city is lucky the employees have been good at the job, but they've moved on.

He suggested rather than the city conducting its own hiring process as in the past, that the city instead contract with David Drown Associates to help find planning and zoning administrator applicants.

The city's cost to hire David Drown Associates would be $6,000, with Sourcewell in Staples paying another $6,000.

Meanwhile, the city can contract with Sourcewell for temporary planner services until a new administrator is hired.

Mayor Fred Heidmann said smaller communities have a harder time attracting candidates. He suggested the council could consider candidates with fewer educational requirements than in the past.

Jacobson said David Drown Associates could reach more potential candidates.

Council member Mike Hoff said if Nisswa is a stepping stone for such positions, a higher salary might alleviate that.

Heidmann suggested starting the process in house, and possibly hiring David Drown Associates later if need be.

A vote to hire David Drown Associates failed 2-2, with Jacobson and council member John Ryan in favor with Heidmann and Hoff opposed.

A vote to have Max start the hiring process passed 4-0.