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Albertville Mayoral Candidates Discuss City Admin at Women of Today Forum

The April decision to terminate city administrator Larry Kruse was a present issue in last night's discussion between candidates.

Jillian Hendrickson, current city council member and Don Peterson, former mayor took center stage Tuesday night as the two candidates for Albertville mayor siezed an opportunity to introduce themselves and what they are most passionate about in the campaign at last night's Women of Today Voter's Forum.

Hendrickson, who has served on the council for the last two years, gave her background and what she has brought to council the last two years.

"I've been the only council member to meet with city staff outside of bi-weekly meetings," she said. "I worked on the personnel committee and helped revamp the city admin position."

Peterson served as Albertville mayor four years ago and expressed that he is "not impressed with the currect direction of council" and is especially distraught about the termination of city administrator Larry Kruse back in April.

"He was given a positive review in December, and then you terminate him in April. That cost the taxpayers over $100,000," he said. "The city doesn't operate this way. Council makes ordinances, and city staff enforces them."

Rick O. from Albertville asked the pair how they plan on balancing the duties as mayor with their full-time employment.

"Realistically it's two meetings a month, then there's planning and hockey. It's a lot of late nights. The pay isn't great, but if you love the city like I do, you do it," Peterson said.

"I'm a sales rep and I work from home, so I have some flexible time to make phone calls and do my due diligence," Hendrickson said also noting that she enjoys working for the city and it's "fun" for her.

Both candidates explained that good staff is key as well.

Another resident asked about the shared building inspector between St. Michael and Albertville.

"We are contracting with the building inspector in St. Michael which works well because of the capacity of inspections he currently has," Hendrickson said.

Peterson had a lot of say about the sharing of positions. "We fired the city admin and hired the engineer to do both roles. Now when development begins we'll be outsourcing engineering duties again," he began.

"I like Adam [Nafstad] and he's a great engineer.Bbut there's no way in heck he can run both positions and it's going to cost us a lot of money in the end," he said.

Albertville City Council member John Vetsch raised a question, "Do you have concerns about Adam doing both?"

"No one interviewed him. Not one person," Peterson said noting that when Kruse was hired dozens of interviews were conducted. "You pushed this right down their throats and this city doesn't do this. I was ashamed and this cost a lot of money." 

Hendrickson said much investigation was done prior to Nafstad's promotion, which was approved earlier this month. 

"From staff perspective, everyone is comfortable with this role and the contract is set up so that if we need to seperate the positions as the economy comes back we can and Adam can choose," Hendrickson said. "He can do it and he has a great interim administrator training him in." 

The two candidates will appear on the ballot on Nov. 6. 

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