Lake Country Faces: From Brainerd to Breezy - Chanski takes admin role in Breezy Point
David Chanski has worked in local governments in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Texas
BREEZY POINT — When Breezy Point began its search for a new city administrator, it didn’t have to look too far.
In fact, David Chanski was working just 20 miles away.
However, public service and local government has taken him across the country.
The Maple Grove native began his tenure as Breezy Point’s administrator three months ago. Before that, he served as the community development director for the city of Brainerd. But his career in local government includes jobs in Colorado, Wisconsin and Texas.
Now, he is doing what he has always wanted to do, where he and his family want to be.
“It has always kind of been the goal to be a city administrator,” Chanski said. “When we moved up to Brainerd, my wife and I were kind of thinking maybe we would be here for two to four years, then migrate back to the Cities – closer to family – but then we got here and decided we like being here and this is where we want to be long term.”
Chanski knew from a young age he wanted to serve others. In middle and high school, he served as a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol, which kick-started a passion for service. Coincidentally, the Civil Air Patrol also gave him his first taste of Breezy Point, as conventions took place at Breezy Point Resort.
However, it was not until college when he realized his passion was for local government.
When we moved up to Brainerd, my wife and I were kind of thinking maybe we would be here for two to four years … but then we got here and decided we like being here and this is where we want to be long term.
“I have always had this desire for public service,” he said. “When I was at the University of Minnesota getting my degree in political science, I had this idea that I wanted to go into law – specifically constitutional law – but I started to do more research and decided it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. It was a little too in the weeds for me.
“What I enjoyed about political science wasn't necessarily ideological politics stuff. I enjoyed researching structures, like how government worked, and that then kind of led me to public administration," Chanski said.
With roughly 90 days now under his belt in Breezy Point, Chanski said his transition into his new role has been made much easier thanks to his counterparts at city hall.
“We have a great team,” he said. “The staff is really devoted to the work that they do and serving the community … You also have a community that seems very involved and very passionate about their city.”
That said, there was not much time for Chanski to sit back in his first days on the job. The city was in the middle of establishing its short-term rental ordinance – a process months in the making – and the expansion of the city’s disc golf course was met with pushback by nearby property owners.
“Those first days were a lot of catching up and information,” Chanski said. “Now after working through those things, I’m having some more time to really kind of get into not just the day-to-day, but, historically, more about the organization and the community. (My first few days) were certainly a welcome to the community, but I don’t like to twiddle my thumbs … and there is no better way to learn an organization than to just jump in and do something.”
Every tribulation is worth it for him though, as he wanted him and his family – his wife, Rosalee, and daughters, Norah and Kennedy – to be a part of this “growing community.”
“You are seeing a community that, since 2000, has grown 250% in full-time residents,” he said. “A lot more people are coming up here not just because they have a cabin and spend weekends here from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is people who want to live here – which has its own growing pains, shifting from a more seasonal community to a full-time community.”
My desire is to be here long term … I told the council when I interviewed that it was my desire to be here and to grow along with the community and be a part of the community’s growth.
He credits the city’s leaders, both past and present, for the direction Breezy Point is heading, which he said leaves him excited for the future.
“This community has been blessed with great councils, and the current council is very involved and progressive – I don’t mean that in the political perspective, I mean they are forward-thinking,” he said. “We address the things we need to address today, but we are also looking five or 10 years into the future.”
Though he is just a few short months into his tenure, Chanski hopes to establish himself as a part of the city’s future and remain with the city for years to come.
“My desire is to be here long term,” Chanski said. “Obviously I can’t read the future – things happen – but I told the council when I interviewed that it was my desire to be here and to grow along with the community and be a part of the community’s growth.”