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Spicer begins interviews for administrator next week

SPICER -- The city of Spicer will begin interviews with its four finalists for the city administrator position Monday.

Spicer announced its four final candidates for the position Friday along with the finalists' interview times for next week.

Spicer received 56 applications for the administrator position after advertising for the opening last month. Spicer's Personnel Committee narrowed the field down to five finalists last week.

Four will be interviewed after one candidate withdrew his name when the city contacted him this week, said Interim City Administrator Wayne Thompson.

The Personnel Committee will start interviews Monday with Sarah Friesen of Mountain Lake and Kym Christiansen of St. James. According to Thompson, Friesen was the city clerk/treasurer of Spring Park for 12 years and Christiansen is a former city clerk/treasurer for the city of Medford.

The committee will finish interviews Tuesday with Leslie Valiant of Litchfield and Spicer Interim Assistant City Administrator Lori Campbell. Valiant is a former financial officer for the city of St. Joseph.

Campbell has been Spicer's interim assistant city administrator since late November. According to archives, she had filled the role when former city administrator Andrea Aukrust was placed on unpaid medical leave. She filled a similar role in March 2008 when the city was searching for a new city administrator.

Campbell has also served Spicer as its assistant financial officer, utility billing clerk and as an administrative assistant for the Spicer Commercial Club.

The Personnel Committee will conduct the four interviews at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

Mayor Denny Baker said Wednesday that the committee hopes to have a hiring recommendation for the City Council by Spicer's second meeting in April.

"I think we received a lot of good candidates," Baker said. "I don't know if hiring is ever easy. You try to go through them the best you can and through the interviewing process you try and come up with the person you think is going to fit the bill."

Earlier this week, Spicer finalized a severance agreement with former city administrator Andrea Aukrust. As part of the mutual settlement, Spicer and the League of Minnesota Cities will pay Andrea Aukrust $25,000. Aukrust had threatened litigation against the city since mid-November for reasons never stated publicly.