North St. Paul names community development director Nate Ehalt interim city manager

City plans accelerated search for permanent manager

When longtime city manager Wally Wysopal tendered his letter of resignation at the North St. Paul City Council meeting May 7, he endorsed appointing community development director Nate Ehalt to serve as the interim manager.

Wysopal has been with North St. Paul for 15 years and will be taking on the city manager position in Fridley, where he resides, on June 7.

Ehalt will be temporarily taking the reins on June 8. Because he will have more responsibilities as the interim manager, his new position comes with a $1,600 raise-an extra $5 an hour for an estimated eight weeks he will be in the position.

Appointing a staff member to the interim position actually will save the city a large chunk of change, Wysopal explained. That’s because hiring an external interim manager for 20 hours a week would cost about $15,000 for the estimated eight weeks of interim work.

Also at the meeting, the council members approved an external search for a new city manager. The search is expected to begin as soon as an advertisement was placed on the proper recruitment websites on May 10.

Wysopal said that it usually takes about five months to recruit a city manager, but North St. Paul would like to have the new person onboard in just a couple months.

“It’s an aggressive schedule, but certainly a doable one,” Wysopal said.

Thorsen will review applications

The council members expect to receive around 30 applications by the June 3 deadline.

Council member Scott Thorsen has been charged with the task of reviewing the applications and narrowing the pool of candidates.

Wysopal said approximately 10 candidates could be expected to be passed along to the council for review.

Then at their June 4 meeting, the council members will further winnow the field to three to five finalists, who will be subject to background and reference checks.

Due to data privacy laws, the applicants’ information will be kept anonymous until the finalists are chosen.

Interviews will be conducted around June 13, when a single finalist will be announced. The earliest date a new city manager could be chosen is June 18.

After the candidate’s employment contract is finalized, he or she will then begin the relocation process to North St. Paul.

One of the major reasons why the council approved a nationwide search was because it provided more opportunities for public participation.

“I want to assure the people out there that this is going to be a very thorough, open process,” council member Candy Petersen said.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7814.

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