WINNEBAGO — With Winnebago’s city administrator set to leave Friday Oct. 19 for a new job, the City Council remains unsure about how to fill the vacancy.
Austin Bleess, administrator there since 2010, has accepted a similar post in Caribou, Maine, and has been working with the Winnebago City Council in securing his replacement.
“But the number of applicants we received was lower than what we expected,” he said.
Part of the problem, he said, was that the job posting ad was prematurely deleted from the League of Minnesota Cities website.
The number of applicants has since risen to 11, but some council members feel that’s still less than preferable.
“I was expecting 16-20 applicants, but I don’t know if we’re going to get there,” councilor Rick Johnson said.
The council will meet today thursdayThursday to discuss an interim replacement.
Long-term, the council is considering a couple of options — entering into a shared-administrator agreement with another city or cities or reverting to having a city clerk handle administrative duties.
Winnebago operated under a city clerk system until the late 1980s.
Johnson said prior to Bleess’ hiring in 2010 the council kicked around both alternatives.
“But it didn’t seem like the general public liked that very well.”
Bleess formerly worked as community development director in Wells. This past summer he was instrumental in organizing the first annual Brewfest in Winnebago and said he plans to return for the 2013 event.