Elk River chooses interim administrator
by Joni Astrup
A former Coon Rapids city manager has been chosen as Elk River’s interim city administrator.
Bob Thistle of Coon Rapids was one of three candidates interviewed by the Elk River City Council during a work session Monday night, June 27.
The council voted unanimously to offer Thistle the job and is expected to consider an interim employment agreement with him on July 5. If everything falls into place, Thistle would begin work July 6 and work up to 40 hours a week. The hourly rate has not yet been determined.
He would temporarily fill a position vacated by former Elk River City Administrator Lori Johnson, who resigned June 6.
Thistle retired in 2007 as a local government consultant with Springsted. He also was the city manager in Coon Rapids from 1979 to 1988.
“I absolutely love local government,” he told the council. “It’s the one place where you can make a difference in people’s lives and can occasionally have some fun at it.”
He also said he loves mentoring staff.
The other two candidates interviewed by the council were Mark Nagel and Ron Moorse. Nagle is a business professor at Normandale Community College, a professor of public administration at Metropolitan State University and a former Anoka city manager who has held a number of interim positions. Moorse has been a city administrator in Arden Hills and Orono and an interim administrator in Afton.
The interim city administrator is expected to be needed until October or November, when the council hopes to have a permanent administrator hired.
Sharon Klumpp, a consultant with Springsted who is helping the city fill the administrator job, said she’s already had some people talk to her about the position.
“There is some interest out there,” she said.
city administrator salaries In a related matter, the council agreed to raise the maximum salary for the position from $119,077 to $125,000. The city administrator is the top position in the city and the highest-paid.
A survey of salaries for city managers and administrators in comparably-sized communities showed an average salary of $121,145, Klumpp said. The average maximum salary was $126,083. Elk River’s maximum salary of $119,077 was 6 percent lower than what she found to be the average maximum salary.
City council members have expressed an interest in attracting a seasoned manager, and the higher maximum salary will position the city to receive more applications from highly qualified, experienced administrators, according to Klumpp.