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Willmar preparing for arrival of new administrator

Briana Sanchez / Tribune file photo Ike Holland, the incoming Willmar City Administrator, will arrive for his first day of work on April 25.

WILLMAR — Willmar will once again have a permanent city administrator, as Ike Holland arrives next week to lead the municipality of 20,000. Holland's first day on the job is April 25.

The City Council during a work session Monday, briefly discussed items on which they wish Holland to focus.

"This is what we want him to work on for the first six months he is here," Mayor Marv Calvin said.

The list includes the 2018 budget, stormwater concerns, the Grass Lake restoration project, contract negotiations, City Hall and Community Center facilities, updating policies, the Municipal Utilities' district heating program, Eagle Lake Sewer District and a multitude of other projects and programs that will need the administrator's attention.

"There are quite a few items here," said Interim City Administrator Mike McGuire.

McGuire, who was hired as the interim administrator in September, will now be staying on until May 19. After that, McGuire will be available to assist Holland on an as-needed basis.

"It was suggested there are projects the interim administrator should be involved. It would be helpful because there is a lot of work to be done," said City Attorney Robert Scott.

The council unanimously approved an amendment to McGuire's contract. His contract originally had him working for the city only two weeks after the new administrator's arrival.

"This allows Mr. McGuire to work to a later date," Scott said.

Holland is coming from Chillicothe, Missouri, where he has been serving as the city administrator since August 2011. Additional work experience includes serving as county assistant manager in Montrose County, Colorado; town administrator of Orchard City, Colorado; and assistant city administrator for Ulysses, Kansas.

While in Chillicothe, Holland assisted the city with the completion of a $41 million city hospital, the Chilli Bay Water Park, an emergency training facility and new walking trails.

The Willmar City Council hired Holland Feb. 21 following interviews with three finalists. Holland was chosen over Greg Sund and Darcy Long. When council members made the decision to hire Holland, they pointed to his energy, enthusiasm and communication skills as reasons he would be a good fit for Willmar. The city staff also gave their vote of approval for the hiring. Holland was their top candidate as well.

Holland replaces Larry Kruse, who resigned in September 2016 after only nine months on the job.

The public will have a chance to meet Holland during a meet and greet scheduled from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. April 26 at the Willmar Fire Station training room.