WILLMAR — When he was offered the permanent position as the Willmar city administrator, Brian Gramentz said he expected to be in the job only for a few years, acting as a transitional administrator for the city.
Gramentz is holding true to his word, having notified the Willmar City Council on Wednesday that he plans to leave the top administrative job in the city by June 2021.
"When I started, people knew this wasn't going to be a long-term relationship," Gramentz said in an interview with the West Central Tribune.
Gramentz was originally hired as the interim administrator in June 2019, after Ike Holland resigned following two years with the city. The council approved hiring Gramentz as the full-time administrator in January 2020.
Gramentz said he gave the council his notice so far ahead to give them the opportunity to begin the search for his replacement sooner rather than later and, he hopes, avoid having to bring an interim aboard.
"It just makes things messy," Gramentz said.
While Gramentz's announcement isn't a huge surprise, it does mean Willmar will be looking for its fifth full-time administrator in just over five years.
Charlene Stevens left the city in April 2015 after more than three years in the position. She was replaced by Larry Kruse in December 2015. Former city clerk Kevin Halliday served as interim administrator between Stevens and Kruse.
Kruse stayed for only nine months, resigning in September 2016. Mike McGuire was hired as interim administrator and served until April 2017, when Holland was hired.
Following Holland's resignation, the city decided to hire an interim administrator as the search for a permanent replacement continued.
At the time of his hiring, Gramentz had more than 34 years of experience serving as either a city manager or administrator. His job prior to coming to Willmar was city manager of New Ulm for 17 years. He came to Willmar recommended by the League of Minnesota Cities and had valuable experience regarding local option sales taxes, which Willmar had passed in November 2018.
Gramentz said his notice to the council isn't earth-shattering and he has no plans to leave earlier than he has announced.
"It is just getting ahead of the issue, so there are no surprises for the City Council," Gramentz said.