by Jim Boyle
The Otsego City Council voted 5-0 on April 19 to enter into a contract with interim City Administrator Adam Flaherty to serve in a dual role as city administrator and finance director.
Flaherty had been the city’s finance director, and he was promoted to interim administrator when former city administrator Lori Johnson left for another job. He served in both roles while the Otsego City Council worked with staff and a search firm to find a city administrator.
At the conclusion of that process, they weren’t interested in having any of the candidates replace Flaherty in the role of the city administrator, and he was now expressing interest in the job and had stated more than once he could handle both roles.
“We weren’t looking for a person to fill a dual role,” Council Member Vern Heidner said. “We were looking a city administrator. We had 40-some applicants. We narrowed to five that we interviewed.
“We all found one that was better than the others in that group, but in my opinion and in the opinion of others, none of those, including that (top candidate), were right for the job.
“It appears to me we have a person who can do the job, plus take on the dual or secondary role.”
Heidner made the motion and Council Member Jason Warehime seconded it to hire Flaherty to continue on in the dual role. Warehime was also the first after the meeting to shake Flaherty’s hand and congratulate him.
But all of Warehime’s concerns were not allayed after nearly an hourlong review of a contract proposal and discussion.
“I support Adam,” Warehime said after the vote. “I didn’t support the process.”
Warehime said during the meeting he felt like an entire step was missed in the decision to form the dual role of city administrator and finance director. He said he felt there should have been a process to decide if having a city administrator serve in that capacity and as a finance director made sense for the city.
The majority felt differently, expressing a belief that the process led them to Flaherty.
Mayor Jessica Stockamp said the city has a gem in Flaherty, who has proven himself and has the support of the council and staff.