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Willmar prepares to move on without Kruse

WILLMAR--The news of Willmar City Administrator Larry Kruse's imminent departure is just over a day old, yet the city is already moving forward to keep the city running smoothly as it goes through the search for Kruse's replacement.

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WILLMAR-The news of Willmar City Administrator Larry Kruse's imminent departure is just over a day old, yet the city is already moving forward to keep the city running smoothly as it goes through the search for Kruse's replacement.

Kruse announced his resignation at Tuesday's City Council meeting, though he let the council know earlier in the day, said Mayor Marv Calvin. Calvin said he had been in discussion with Kruse before Tuesday about Kruse wanting to leave.

RELATED:  Kruse resigns as Willmar City Administrator

"Larry made the decision," Calvin said.

As of Wednesday, Calvin has contacted the League of Minnesota Cities about finding an individual who might be willing to act as an interim administrator as the City Council begins the search for Kruse's permanent replacement. Calvin and Councilman Ron Christianson, also the mayor pro tem, will work together to vet possible interim candidates in order to find the right fit for Willmar.

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Calvin hopes to have an interim in place as soon as possible.

The last time the city was without an administrator, when Charlene Stevens left, City Clerk/Treasurer Kevin Halliday stepped in as interim administrator. However, that is not possible this time around. Halliday is scheduled to retire at the end of the September.

This means the city of Willmar could be without a city administrator and a city clerk at the same time. There are also concerns about whether a new clerk will be in place and trained by the time the Nov. 8 general election comes around. Councilman Tim Johnson asked during Tuesday's council meeting if the city was going to be ready for the election.

"I sure hope so," Kruse responded.

The application window for the city clerk position closed Aug. 31 and the city does have a number of applicants, though fewer than was hoped.

"The city clerk applications are a little light," Kruse said at the council meeting Tuesday.

Calvin explained the hiring of the city clerk will be a staff process and decision, as the clerk position is no longer a director. Calvin said he has not been informed which city staff members will be responsible for hiring the new clerk. The goal is to have the new clerk in place before the election.

"We've asked staff to streamline" the hiring process, Calvin said.

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There has been training for staff regarding the election, to make sure the city is ready come Election Day. Calvin believes staff will be able to take care of any election responsibilities and will ask Kandiyohi County for assistance if it is needed.

While the city goes through the transition between administrators and city clerks, the mayor, City Council and city staff will need to work together to continue the business of the city of Willmar, Calvin said.

"I'm confident," Calvin said.

Related Topics: WILLMAR CITY COUNCIL
Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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