West St. Paul City Council chambers

West St. Paul City Manager Search

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West St. Paul is looking to hire a new city manager, and this week the three finalists will face the public and be interviewed by the City Council. There are two important meetings:

  • Friday, March 12, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: The three finalists will make presentations and answer questions from the public. This event is open to the public and will be broadcast on cable and streamed online (watch the archived video). The public will be able to submit questions via email. (Facebook event)
  • Saturday, March 13, 8:30 a.m.: The City Council will interview the three finalists. This event is open to the public, but it will not be televised. After a break for lunch, the City Council will discuss the finalists.

The city manager is a vital role as they basically run the city. Everyone on staff, including the police chief, answers to the city manager. The city manager is only accountable to the City Council. Anything the City Council wants to accomplish has to go through the city manager, making that working relationship incredibly important to achieve any progress.

The three finalists are:

  • Nate Burkett, assistant city administrator for Shakopee.
  • Mike Darrow, founder of the North Star Group.
  • Jacob Rife, city administrator for Cary, Illinois.

(A fourth finalist dropped out due to a medical emergency.)

It’s likely the City Council will make their decision on Saturday.

City Manager History

Current City Manager Ryan Schroeder announced his retirement late last year, offering to stay on until a replacement was found. Schroeder came out of retirement in 2017 to serve in an interim role that became permanent after the previous city manager, Matt Fulton, was forced out.

At four years and a few months, Schroeder is the longest serving city manager in 20 years, going back to Dianne Krogh. Though going back to 1963 when the city manager system was implemented, only two managers have served longer than five years—Thomas Hoban (1972-1985) and William Craig (1985-1996). Of the city’s 11 official city managers going back to 1963 (so not counting acting managers), there’s minimal diversity—Krogh is the only woman and Arbon Hairston is the only person of color.

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