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Review complete: City Council receives report on administrator’s performance evaluation

WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council received a report Monday night on the council’s performance evaluation of City Administrator Charlene Stevens.

Labor Committee Chair Steve Ahmann read a statement that said the council held a special closed meeting June 16 to evaluate Stevens’ performance. The meeting was twice continued to June 17 and June 25.

All eight council members and Mayor Frank Yanish, along with City Attorney Robert Scott, were present at all three sessions. Ahmann said Stevens did not request that the meeting be open to the public and he said the meeting was closed under state law.

In a brief report, Ahmann said under governing laws, the council at the next open meeting following the closed session is required to summarize the conclusions of the evaluation.

Ahmann said the council was divided on the issue of Stevens’ job performance.

He said the city administrator can be an effective communicator and presenter of information. Ahmann said the council encouraged Stevens to improve on maintaining communication with all members of the council.

Ahmann said the council specifically requested Stevens work with staff to provide more detailed and informative staff reports to the council for issues on which council action is requested and generally to make information more readily available and accessible to the council at the council meetings.

This was Stevens’ second performance evaluation since she joined the city in 2011. Her last performance evaluation was held in May 2013. In a brief report at that time, Ahmann reported to the council that Stevens was performing the duties as required as city administrator.

Stevens’ experience before coming to Willmar included positions in city, county and township government and in human services in Iowa, Kansas and Pennsylvania.

In other business during a nearly 90-minute meeting, the council approved a Finance Committee recommendation to buy a vertical wheel chair lift from Access Lifts in the amount of $28,850 for the Blue Line Center viewing area.

Finance Committee Chair Denis Anderson reported that staff explained the 2013 capital improvement plan budgeted $30,000 for the wheel chair lift. He said Civic Center staff had been working with vendors to create a plan to install the equipment to provide access for all users and spectators to the Blue Line Center viewing area.

Also, the council approved final budgets for 2014 street improvement projects. The list of projects did not include overlay work, which the council eliminated at the June 16 meeting.

Budgets were set as follows:

- $1,160,160 for street reconstruction.

- $361,383 for new street construction.

- $3.5 million for industrial park streets.

- $76,200 for Willmar Avenue street lights.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150