Readers of Fish Wrap are in for a pellet of fish food today.  We have a guest writer.  A fish school mate of mine attended a meet & greet event hosted by the Little Falls City Council in order to introduce two City Administrator candidates to the public.  Following are her impressions.  Enjoy!

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

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As a sometime reader of Fish Wrap, I’ve noticed that you’ve been following the search for a new Little Falls City Administrator pretty closely.  I had an opportunity to attend a public gathering for two of the candidates this evening.  Unfortunately, I was the only public that showed up.  Everyone else in the room was either a City Council member or City staff member.

I  had the pleasure of meeting Garrison Hale, who is currently the City Administrator of Chisholm, Minnesota. That’s Iron Range country, for those of you not familiar with the place.  It is the home of Iron World and the Iron Range Research Center.  Garrison was very interested in the history of Little Falls, which he seemed to soak up as I discussed various aspects of it with him.  It was obvious from our conversation that he was quite versed on the ins and outs of the City of Chisholm, having a good grasp of the city’s economy and attractions.

The other candidate on hand was Crystal Prentice, who was the former City Administrator for St. Charles, Minnesota, which is near Rochester.  Crystal took a leave from her position in order to adopt a child from Guatemala this past year.  When her leave was up, she wanted to have more time with her son, so she stepped down from her position.  Her son is now old enough for her to feel comfortable in returning to work.  Crystal has served in two cities prior to St. Charles, both of which were much larger than St. Charles or Little Falls.  In St. Charles, one of her goals was to bring the city’s website up-to-date, which she accomplished.

Because I wasn’t sure what to expect from the meeting, I prepared a few questions to ask in case the proceedings were more formal.  I wanted to know how each felt about advocating for history in Little Falls because our city has become known statewide for its historic preservation efforts.  Garrison’s interest in history was reassuring on this front.  With the meeting being informal, I didn’t have a chance to ask Crystal her opinions on historic preservation.  She did, however, answer my question on how vital it was for a city to have a website.  (Yes, it’s vital.)

There was one question I really wanted to ask, but the opportunity never presented itself.  Little Falls has long seen itself as a bedroom community, sandwiched as it is between St. Cloud and Brainerd/Baxter.  How would you turn the city into a kitchen community, where there’s more activity, greater business development, and a higher standard of living with higher paying jobs?

After the public gathering, the candidates were due to be interviewed by the City Council again.  I can tell you that both left a good impression with me.  They were personable and knowledgeable and were eager to introduce themselves.  The City Council is going to have a hard decision ahead of them and I wish both candidates good luck.

Your Guest Writer,

Black Molly

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For those of you who are curious, here are the websites for the City of St. Charles and the City of Chisholm. – P.F.A.P.

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