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Pequot Lakes: Council promotes from within

Nancy Malecha, Pequot Lakes deputy city clerk since 2004, became the city's first administrator/clerk effective Monday, Sept. 28. The move followed city council action Wednesday, Sept. 23. "I'm excited, very excited," Malecha told the council. "I...

Nancy Malecha
Nancy Malecha

Nancy Malecha, Pequot Lakes deputy city clerk since 2004, became the city's first administrator/clerk effective Monday, Sept. 28.

The move followed city council action Wednesday, Sept. 23.

"I'm excited, very excited," Malecha told the council. "I appreciate the opportunity and I will not disappoint you. It will just take me a little time, but I'll get there."

Malecha, who grew up in Pequot Lakes and whose mother, Cathy Malecha, is a former mayor and former council member, has worked for the city since 2002. She joined the city from Sibley Township after the city's orderly annexation of the township that year.

The council decided last May to hire its first administrator after learning of city clerk Sandy Peine's plans to retire after working for the city for 12 years. Peine's last day at work was Friday, Sept. 25.

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The council interviewed three applicants and offered the position to Mark Casey of Chisholm on Sept. 8, but he later declined the offer for personal reasons.

In the meantime, the council learned Malecha didn't originally apply for the position because a four-year college degree was required. Malecha has a two-year degree in accounting and will receive her four-year degree in business administration next May.

After Casey declined the job offer, the council considered five options as a next step: offer the position to one of the other two finalists; interview other candidates previously rejected; put the hiring process on hold and repost the position in a few months; hire an interim administrator to help establish the position and advertise again in six to nine months; or consider hiring an administrator/clerk.

The council opted for the last option, ultimately agreeing to promote Malecha to the administrator/clerk position.

Deb Marty, the city's administrative/finance assistant, became deputy city clerk, with the ultimate goal of promoting her to city clerk and having Malecha be solely an administrator.

The council agreed to hire Dan Vogt at $65 per hour to mentor Malecha. Vogt was longtime city administrator in Brainerd before retiring, and he works part-time for Crosslake in that role. The council didn't anticipate Vogt would work a lot of hours for the city, but wants someone available for Malecha as she learns her new role.

Also as part of the restructuring of the city clerk's office, Dawn Bittner, zoning administrator/administrative specialist, became zoning specialist. And the council agreed Wednesday to hire a utility billing person to take over Marty's duties.

With the shift in duties and one hiring, the city will spend an estimated $22,900 more than under the previous city clerk's office structure. That's about what was estimated when the council began the process of hiring an administrator.

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Malecha will earn $67,251 annually, up from her previous salary of $49,400. That's the lowest end of what the city planned to pay an administrator, based on experience.

Marty will earn $18.03 per hour, up from $14.87 per hour.

Council members noted both Malecha and Marty will be inexperienced in their new positions, but were confident of their abilities.

"Nancy is a rookie at management - we can't underestimate that. Without the mentorship I'd be nervous about this for her sake, as well as ours," said council member Scott Pederson. "Management is not an easy thing to learn. She'll become not a co-worker to these people. All of sudden she's the boss. It's a big, big change.

"I believe she has confidence about her character that impressed me," he said.

Peine said: "I have all the confidence in the world. I've worked with Nancy for 12 years and I know she can do the job. I feel really confident leaving."

Of Marty, Peine said: "She's a very fast learner. Nancy is very impressed with her and feels she can learn the responsibilities. Plus she wants to advance."

Mayor Dave Sjoblad said: "Deb said she loves new challenges and loves this work and wants to do it. So I think it's there."

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