Zahn appointed to Nisswa City Council
He was the only applicant for open seat and will serve through the end of 2022
NISSWA — The Nisswa City Council is back to full strength with the appointment of Jesse C. Zahn, who has lived nearly all of his 29 years in the city.
A four-member council chatted with Zahn and asked questions during a special meeting Tuesday, March 8, before unanimously agreeing to the appointment.
Zahn, a member of the city’s planning commission since November 2021, was the only person to apply for the seat after former council member Ross Krautkremer resigned in January because of work commitments. He had three years left in his term.
Zahn will serve through the end of this year. In November, that seat will be on the ballot as a special election for a two-year term (2023-2024).
The council learned that Zahn, vice president of operations at Conductor Power in Brainerd, was previously interested in seeking election to the council and has attended council meetings since August.
“I have the experience, desire, and understanding to further serve our community in this capacity,” he wrote in his application letter.
“I have observed the functions of this council, its challenges, and ultimately the responsibility bestowed on each council member acting on behalf, and with the best intentions, of Nisswa and all her interests. I have no doubt that I can fulfill this role in every capacity required and more,” he wrote.
Zahn was pursuing a business degree at the University of North Dakota when his dad asked him to come home and work in the family business that was started in 1977. He returned home in 2016.
His work with the family business has prepared him to handle any situation that may come his way, Zahn said.
Whether a major issue or not, it’s important to let them know they have an ear to be heard and they do have a voice.
In answering four interview questions, Zahn said serving on the council is important to him to gain experience in local government and to understand budgets, city issues and the ebbs and flows of how the city operates.
His leadership style is something his father taught.
“Firsthand leadership is leading by example, being the one who reports early, turns the pot of coffee on, turns the lights on, is the last one there, works hardest and understands what it takes to get the job done,” he said, noting he’d lead by example, be true to his word and follow through on any questions or concerns.
He believes the council’s function is to understand and listen to all those who bring issues.
“Whether a major issue or not, it’s important to let them know they have an ear to be heard and they do have a voice,” Zahn said.
He acknowledged that sometimes difficult decisions have to be made for the greater good of the community, but the council should have all the information before making a decision.
Asked if the city could make one change or improvement, what would that be, Zahn said: “I think this is a pretty dang good city and I honestly don’t have an immediate recommendation.”
He’s thankful to call Nisswa home, saying the city is blessed with good infrastructure, good citizens and good leadership.
He pledged to meet challenges that may come up head on.
Regarding the most important quality a city council person should have, Zahn cited the ability to put themselves in the other person’s situation and to be sympathetic to what that person might be going through.
He advocated remaining calm, listening and understanding to the best of his knowledge in potential contentious situations.
Council member Don Jacobson participated in the meeting online via Zoom.
Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.