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Tribune Editorial: Willmar City Council makes a good Holland decision

Briana Sanchez/ Tribune Ike Holland, Willmar City Administrator, presents his topic to council members Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at Willmar City Offices. Each city admin candidate was asked to do a 10-minute presentation about a city topic.

The Willmar City Council took the productive step Tuesday night in hiring Ike Holland as the next Willmar city administrator.

This selection of Holland as the next Willmar city administrator is another positive step by the City Council in 2017.

This City Council development followed the troubled recent years that brought Willmar the unpopular buyout of city administrator Charlene Stevens and the short-lived tenure of City Administrator Larry Kruse.

Most refreshing was that Holland appeared to be the favorite of the 45 applicants among both the City Council and city staff.

"I think this is the right candidate at the right time," Councilor Shawn Mueske said Tuesday night.

"I love his enthusiasm, I love the energy he will bring to the table," Mayor Marv Calvin said Tuesday night.

During the interview process, city department heads said staff thought Holland would be very approachable and the public would respect him.

Holland will bring some great characteristics to the council.

• Brings a refreshing and positive attitude to the table

• Has managerial skills to manage multiple city projects at once

• Believes in community involvement

• He sees the business community and the local chamber as a community strength

• Skilled in long-term planning

• Believes in team building

• Balanced economic development

Holland brings a wealth of public administration experience to the table as well.

He has worked since 2011 as the city administrator in Chillicothe, Missouri.

Previously, he worked as assistant county manager and as county emergency manager in Montrose County, Colorado; city manager in Orchard City, Colorado, assistant city administrator in Ulysses, Kansas; and human resources compensation manager in Topeka, Kansas.

A U.S. military veteran, Holland served 22 years, first in the Air Force and then in the Army - as a finance and accounting officer, artillery officer and a major.

Holland appears to have a good handle on the role of the city administrator. During his interview, he stated, his role is to push the vision of the City Council and the mayor.

He has demonstrated strategic accomplishments at his previous Chillicothe position. The city completed a $41 million city hospital, the Chilli Bay Water Park, an emergency training facility and new walking trails. The city's fire department was recognized as one of Missouri's best in 2016.

Chillicothe also worked on long-term planning, Holland said during his interview. The Chillicothe administration developed five- and 10-year outlooks for budgeting purposes.

Holland uses a balanced approach in economic development - seeking to develop new businesses and retaining and expanding current businesses in the community.

Chillicothe leaders believe Willmar is getting an excellent city administrator.

All of these things indicate the Willmar City Council has made a good decision in selecting Holland as the next city administrator.

Willmar residents should look to Holland's arrival in April.

This is the opinion of the West Central Tribune's Editorial Board of publisher Steve Ammermann and editor Kelly Boldan.

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