Job, family keep new Otsego city administrator busy
Johnson impressed with Otsego mayor and council; traits such as professionalism, knowledgeable and leadership cited
by Bob Grawey
These days Lori Johnson, Otsego’s new city administrator, is busier than ever learning a new city and being involved with family matters.
Both, though, are part of why Johnson left Elk River and ended up in Otsego.
Her resignation from her administrator position in Elk River may have come as surprise for some, but for Johnson it had been on her mind for quite some time.
“I had long planned that I would most likely make a change this year,” Johnson says, “given that my son was leaving for college.”She adds her family has always been her first priority, causing her to pass up “several unsolicited, excellent job offers.”
In fact, as Johnson resigned in Elk River, she says she had several career opportunities before her. One of these was the Otsego city administrator position.
Otsego came to the forefront after Johnson met Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp at a community event.
“I was very impressed with her professionalism, knowledge of city government and her leadership ability,” Johnson notes. “I was similarly impressed with the Otsego (city) council members after getting an opportunity to see them in action at a couple of their city council meetings.”
Johnson had also worked with city staff earlier in the year and says she concluded Otsego would be a “great place to work.”
The transition to Otsego was attractive for Johnson, too, as it keeps her closer to her family while giving her a professional opportunity in a growing city.
Aside from her respect for the mayor and council, Johnson says another major factor in seeking out and accepting the city administrator position is what she calls unlimited potential in Otsego. Johnson says it is a good fit for both parties.
“I have been through many of the issues that face Otsego,” Johnson explains, “and can use those experiences and my knowledge to successfully maneuver Otsego through the challenges and opportunities of a growing city.”
That potential for business and residential growth is due to Otsego’s location. Johnson cites the Highway 101 corridor as a prime location for future business growth.Along with Interstate 94 and close proximity to highways 169 and 10, she believes the city will be attractive to business interests once the economy turns around.
Plenty of land is still open and undeveloped in many parts of Otsego as well, giving the city strong potential for future residential growth.
After attending various city meetings leading up to her official start date Monday, July 25, Johnson says she has found the City Council to be progressive with its goals and future development.
Johnson says Otsego’s main attributes are that its mayor, council and city staff are quite knowledgeable and professional. She also points out the city’s availability to business ventures which gives Otsego a good business climate.
Johnson also says Otsego has a solid foundation on which it can build onto in the future; that the city is well planned, including its parks and infrastructure.
One thing the new city administrator wants to do is to meet people in the business community and Otsego residents.
“It is important to understand all aspects of the city,” Johnson says, “and how the decisions made now affect the residents, business owners and the city in the future.”
Residents and those owning a business in Otsego can meet Johnson at the next Otsego City Council meeting Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m. It will be Johnson’s first council meeting as Otsego’s city administrator.