Big challenges ahead for new administratorBrian Anderson took the reins as Newport’s new city administrator Monday after the city council paved the way last week, approving an employment agreement with the former Lakeville assistant administrator.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
Brian Anderson took the reins as Newport’s new city administrator Monday after the city council paved the way last week, approving an employment agreement with the former Lakeville assistant administrator.
The agreement will pay Anderson a base starting salary of $88,000 per year. It provides for a severance package in the event the Newport City Council terminates Anderson without cause; no severance would be due if the incoming administrator is fired with cause.
Anderson will replace interim administrator Barry Sittlow, the former St. Paul Park city administrator who stepped in at Newport after the departures of former administrator Larry Bodahl in December and assistant administrator Bart Fischer in January.
Council members thanked Sittlow, neighboring St. Paul Park’s administrator for more than 30 years when he retired in March 2008, for helping steer the ship while the city searched for a new full-time administrator.
“I know it wasn’t always fun for you, but you did a great job,” mayor Tim Geraghty told Sittlow, alluding to some tense moments on the council since Sittlow arrived in late-January. “I don’t have any plaque or award, just genuine thanks.”
Sittlow praised Newport city staff and will now return to retirement full-time. He said he enjoyed his part-time, interim position in Newport after retiring last year “cold turkey.”
“It was an honor to be called in the first place,” he told council members. “I’ve had a great five months here.”
A host of challenges await Anderson, Sittlow said after last Thursday’s meeting. Gov. Tim Pawlenty will soon begin the process of unallotting billions of dollars in state spending, including state aid that Newport receives; a substantial water and sewer rate hike is in the works and redevelopment in Newport has yet to jumpstart.
All that comes on top of the need to get to know his staff and new city in his first few weeks on the job, Sittlow says.
“It’s going to be hectic. I hope the city and everyone will let him get in the door,” the outgoing interim administrator said in an interview. “But he’s been doing his homework — talking with all the right people, asking all the right questions.”