Renville County's longtime administrator cites family reasons as he resigns to lead metro suburb of Orono
OLIVIA -- Renville County Administrator Bill Wells is leaving his position to become the city administrator in Orono. Wells submitted his resignation to the County Board at the end of its meeting Tuesday. He offered to continue as county administ...
OLIVIA -- Renville County Administrator Bill Wells is leaving his position to become the city administrator in Orono.
Wells submitted his resignation to the County Board at the end of its meeting Tuesday. He offered to continue as county administrator for four to possibly five weeks.
"It's been a great ride. I really enjoyed my time here,'' Wells said Wednesday.
Wells called the time right for the change. He pointed out that the county has expanded the county office facility to house the social services and public health departments and has completed construction of a 72-bed jail and law enforcement center.
Wells said the opportunity to move back to the metro area and be closer to his family played a big role in his decision to leave Renville County. He said he's logged some 280,000 miles to be part of family activities in the metro over the past 10 years.
Wells, 58, said he is also looking forward to the challenges the city of Orono will offer. The community of 7,841 is a second-tier suburb west of Minneapolis and is located on Lake Minnetonka. He described the community of large, spacious lots as having a "rural flavor, but in a metropolitan setting.''
Wells took on the role as Renville County's first administrator in December 1998. Until then, the county had relied on the county auditor to perform many of the administrative duties.
Wells said his first years were devoted largely to organizational matters.
County Board chairman Gale Dahlager said the commissioners appreciated Wells' work, adding that the county has benefited greatly. He pointed to the administrator's role in the county's strong financial position.
The commissioners have not yet decided how to go about finding a successor, Dahlager said.
Wells has overseen county operations during changes in boards and leadership, and witnessed a number of political disputes within the county.
He said one of the strong points he found in Renville County is the ability of its residents and leadership to work through disputes, despite their differences.
The most difficult part about leaving will be missing the people he has worked alongside, Wells said.
Wells brings to Orono over 30 years of experience in public service. He previously worked for the Minnesota State Senate and has administrative experience as city manager in Burnsville, county administrator in Nicollet County and as city manager in Safford, Ariz.
The Orono City Council approved a contract with Wells on Aug. 25, but did not announce the selection until after Wells submitted his resignation in Renville County, according to a report in the Minnesota Sun Sailor newspaper.