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Utility head receives favorable job evaluation

WILLMAR -- Willmar Municipal Utilities General Manager Wesley Hompe has received a favorable performance evaluation from the Municipal Utilities Commission.

WILLMAR - Willmar Municipal Utilities General Manager Wesley Hompe has received a favorable performance evaluation from the Municipal Utilities Commission.
The commission voted Monday to accept the action of the Labor Committee, which conducted Hompe’s annual evaluation Aug. 21 and agreed to schedule a meeting to review a total compensation package to be presented to Hompe.
In a report to the commission, Municipal Utilities Commissioner Carol Laumer, who is chairwoman of the Labor Committee, said the committee excused Hompe during part of the discussion and reviewed evaluation forms submitted by the commissioners along with correspondence submitted by Hompe that provided status highlights and accomplishments of the utility and Hompe during the past year.
Committee members agreed the evaluation process was valid and accepted by Hompe. The committee agreed to meet again and negotiate the compensation package. The package will be returned to the commission for approval, according to Laumer. The committee’s action means Hompe was reappointed for another year.
Laumer told the commission that Hompe was meeting and exceeding expectations. Laumer said there were a couple of areas where the committee would like to see improvements in Hompe’s communications with the commission going forward, which was agreed upon with Hompe.
Laumer, along with Commission President Matt Schrupp, praised Hompe’s work.
“The Labor Committee and the commission thank you again, Wes, for the job you’ve done pulling this team together, laying the foundation for going forward with the utilities,’’ Laumer said. “We appreciate the job that you’re doing from the commission as well as the Labor Committee.’’
Schrupp said Hompe has been doing a very good job in all areas of the performance appraisal.
Hompe was appointed general manager in August 2012. He previously served about nine months as interim co-manager, and was staff electrical engineer from May 1989 through December 2011. He also worked four years for an electric utility in Decatur, Illinois.
In other business Monday, the commission took the first step in a years-long process to upgrade the city’s two water treatment plants.
The first step will be to replace the aging greensand gravel and media and install new gravel and media used to remove iron and manganese for quality water production at the southwest water treatment plant.
To begin the project, the commission voted to advertise for bids from companies to replace the manganese greensand. Bids will be opened
Sept. 21. The project is estimated at $351,582.
According to Water and Heating Supervisor Joel Braegelman and Operations Director John Harren, the current greensand was installed in the southwest treatment plant in 1992. The greensand had a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years and this is the 23rd year. The greensand will be replaced with a similar product, as greensand is no longer being made.
The southwest plant continues to provide quality water. But as the greensand has deteriorated over the years, the utility must increase the amount of time required to backwash and remove the iron and manganese from the greensand, which takes time away from water treatment.
The new gravel and media will enable the southwest plant to return to full production because the Willmar Avenue Southwest water tower will be taken out of service during an upgrade project in 2016. Afterward, the utility will begin improvements in 2018 at the northeast water treatment plant.
“So we need the southwest plant to be at top performance because we will be shutting down half of the northeast plant at a time to do the work,’’ Braegelman said.

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