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Crosslake council member questions hiring process

Crosslake council member Marcia Seibert-Volz.
Crosslake council member Marcia Seibert-Volz.<br/>
Contributed / Marcia Seibert-Volz

CROSSLAKE — At a special council meeting Jan. 6, the Crosslake City Council agreed to interview three planning and zoning administrator candidates. This follows the recent resignation of former administrator Jon Kolstad.

Council member Marcia Seibert-Volz asked why the personnel committee hadn’t seen the five applications the city received, and why the council wasn’t involved but instead was going by staff recommendation to interview three candidates.

She suggested the council close its meeting to review the applications.

City Clerk Char Nelson said past practice has never been for the personnel committee to do any hiring. She said the job description determines minimum qualifications candidates must have, and three of the five applicants had those minimum qualifications.

The council learned it can interview the three qualified applicants and offer the job to one, or it can decide to reopen the application process if it isn’t comfortable hiring any of those interviewed.

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At the council’s regular meeting Monday, Jan. 10, Seibert-Volz asked the council to change its policy to have the personnel committee review applications for supervisory positions and then recommend candidates for the city council to interview. Mayor Dave Nevin supported the idea, but the other three council members opposed it.

The personnel committee includes the city administrator, mayor and one council member, who is Seibert-Volz.

“In the future we need to have the personnel committee look at all applications and rate them. I feel the city council should be a part of it,” Seibert-Volz said, adding the city administrator and city clerk shouldn’t decide who the council should interview for a supervisory position.

Council member John Andrews disagreed, saying the council’s job is to provide guidance and direction to staff, not run the city.

Seibert-Volz said: “The council is responsible for hiring and firing, and we aren’t seeing all applications.” She said she wasn’t trying to run the city on a day-to-day basis or micromanage.

Council member Dave Schrupp attended both meetings online via Zoom from Florida.

City emailSeibert-Volz also asked that the city release her city email account so she could be in charge of it.

“I don’t want the city to read my emails,” she said, noting she was happy to pay the $5.99 a month for her city email account.

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City attorney Brad Person said there was the potential for public data to be included in city emails that must be kept. He suggested Seibert-Volz use her personal email account. Seibert-Volz said she wouldn’t delete any city emails.

Nevin provided a second to Seibert-Volz’s request, though he said he wasn’t sure it was a legitimate request. The council never voted.

“We have no access to your emails,” City Clerk Char Nelson said.

“Crosslake Communications said you do,” Seibert-Volz responded.

“I’m not trying to hide anything. This is just a personal thing for me,” she said.

This meeting can be viewed at “City of Crosslake - YouTube.”

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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