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Newport council set to vote on new city administrator

Newport's search for a new city administrator may be over before it really got started.

The City Council is set to vote Thursday, Jan. 17, to appoint Deb Hill as the next administrator. Hill works as an accountant for the city.

If hired, Hill would replace outgoing City Administrator Brian Anderson. He's leaving for a similar job in Faribault, Minn.

Mayor Tim Geraghty on Wednesday said he's not sure how the council will vote, but is confident Hill has the experience needed to lead Newport city government.

Hill's appointment would cut short a planned search that was expected to take up to four months. The council in late December approved hiring a consulting firm to conduct a search for a new administrator, at a cost of up to $15,000.

That process never really got started, however, Geraghty said Wednesday. The council had asked whether any current city staff were interested, and Hill expressed interest in the position. Geraghty said he then talked informally with her about the job.

The full council met in closed session Jan. 7 to discuss Hill's performance evaluation the past year, but that discussion did not include the city administrator opening, Geraghty said.

Hill did not go through the traditional interview process for a city administrator, but Geraghty said she has a "history of good experience" with the city.

"She has the experience and qualifications, and the council, I think, is confident that she can do a good job for us," he said.

Geraghty added: "It's kind of an internal promotion."

If hired, Hill is scheduled to start as administrator Jan. 28, a day after Anderson leaves Newport for Faribault.

Geraghty said the accountant position would be filled if Hill gets the top city job.

Hill has been with Newport for over a year, Geraghty said. She worked in northern Minnesota before coming to Newport, and had served on a city council in the northern part of the state as well, he said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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