St. Michael's Derus Announces Plans to Retire in 2012
The city administrator, who has seen St. Michael through three different decades (1990s, 2000 and 2010s), will hand leadership over July 1 of next year.
The announcment itself wasn't at all surprising. Yet, there was a bit of shock around the room, as St. Michael City Administrator Bob Derus made it "official."
Derus, city staff's leader who has guided St. Michael through a downtown redevelopment, a huge highway project and - finally - a new city hall, will retire July 1, 2012.
He had scaled back his hours over the past two years, dropping from full time to a .85 FTE, in an effort to save the city thousands of dollars when the bottom fell out of the local real estate market.
"It's not the end," Derus said of his working career. "I think it's the start of the second stage of my working career."
Derus served other northwest suburbs - including Brooklyn Park - before coming to St. Michael. He has been in city government for more than 30 years.
The city is preparing to hand over leadership duties to Steve Bot, the city's "Mr. Everything" right now. Bot is the city engineer, assistant city administrator and also assists with planning.
"I have a really good feeling about where the city is, right now," Derus said.
While council members thanked him for his work, he stressed that he wasn't done.
"Well," said Kevin Kasel, council member, "they say the best thing you can do as a leader is work yourself out of a job, and get to that point."
"I feel like I've kind of gotten there," Derus said, to Bot's and Community Development Director Marc Weigle's objections.
But it was Weigle and Bot who took the lead on the city hall relocation and construction. Weigle continues to work on that project, teaming with the Building it Together group.
The remaining 13 months of Derus' career will be spent on strategic planning and getting business and residential growth back on track in St. Michael, Derus said.
"I'm really excited to keep working on that," he said. "I'd like to see the city come out with a really good plan for the future."