Since Richard Carlson left his job as City Administrator for Little Falls on May 25, 2007, the City has been shopping for someone to replace him. The City Council has to find someone who can at least equal Carlson’s substantial administrative skills. No small task, that.

The Council has found three potential candidates. Two were named in the August 26, 2007, issue of the Morrison County Record. They are Dan Coughlin, who is currently serving as the City Admin for Richmond, MN, and Steven Robertson, City Admin for Plainview. The Record reported that “the third candidate has not give permission for his name to be released.”

We could read several things into why the third candidate has not given permission for his identity to be known. Perhaps the Record couldn’t get ahold of him before press time. Perhaps the man has not made his job search known to his current employer and doesn’t want to blow his cover. Or, perhaps the guy is scared all of the fine citizens of Little Falls are going to do a background check on him before he gets here.

You see, there were supposed to be a couple of “Meet the Candidate” sessions in Little Falls, one on August 28, 2007, and one on September 4, 2007. According to the Record online, the session for tomorrow has been canceled, no reason given. In an editorial in last week’s Record, it was suggested that citizens of Little Falls come out in force to look over these candidates and let City Council members know who they liked. The editorial took a turn toward the cloak and dagger with this:

“As the candidates talk about their backgrounds, they may well trigger a connection with a citizen who knows somebody from the applicant’s past. We live in an interconnected world, and friends and family of Little Falls residents, as with all communities, are scattered across the globe.

A call to that friend or family member may provide invaluable feedback to the community. Perhaps the call will reveal where a candidate has exaggerated the success of a particular program. Maybe it will be learned that the candidate is of questionable character. Or hopefully, the unofficial, off-the-cuff call will reaffirm a positive first impression.

What’s important to understand, however, is that, even though the City Council will make the final decision, every resident has a responsibility to help city government work as best it can. One way any citizen can help is by checking within their own circle so the council can get as complete a picture as possible.” (MC Record, August 19, 2007)

You’d have to be a person with pretty thick skin to come into a community with such an open amount of suspicion. It remains to be seen how the whole situation will shake out.

Yours gillfully,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel