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Committee to recommend Spicer administrator candidate

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SPICER -- The Spicer City Council will meet in special session Saturday to hear the Personnel Committee's recommendation about the best hire for the city administrator opening.

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Mayor Denny Baker said Thursday that he will make a recommendation to the City Council regarding the hiring of a new city administrator. Baker is a member of Spicer's two-person personnel committee.

Baker said the committee found who it thought was the best candidate during interviews with four final candidates Monday and Tuesday.

"We found a candidate, and the candidate was willing to accept," Baker said. "We made a deal."

However, the City Council still has to approve the hiring by a majority vote.

The special meeting was called for Saturday because Spicer wants to get the potential candidate in as soon as possible, Baker said.

The mayor also said he would be out of town next week and unable to make a weekday meeting before Spicer's April 7 regular meeting.

"The frank part of it is we want to get somebody in place as soon as possible," Baker said.

"... This was the best way to do it for all parties concerned. ... We just felt 'let's move it up, let's get things moving.'"

Last week, Baker told the Tribune the committee probably wouldn't have a recommendation for the City Council until mid-April.

Spicer announced its four final candidates for the position last week after receiving 56 applications for the city administrator role over the previous month.

The four finalists chosen for interviews were Sarah Friesen of Mountain Lake, Kym Christiansen of St. James, Leslie Valiant of Litchfield and Spicer Interim Assistant City Administrator Lori Campbell. According to previous reports, all of the candidates are or have been employed by other Minnesota city governments.

Spicer is hiring for the city administrator position after finalizing a severance agreement last week with former city administrator Andrea Aukrust. As part of the mutual settlement, Spicer and the League of Minnesota Cities will pay Aukrust $25,000. Aukrust had threatened litigation against the city since mid-November for reasons never stated publicly. Saturday's special meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at City Hall.

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