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City council votes to pursue city administrator position

Tea City Council members turned on their previous decision at the April 3 meeting about a city administrator position.

At the April 3 meeting, councilors failed to approve a resolution creating a position of city administrator. They changed their minds at the May 1 meeting.

Justin Weiland, Dell Rapids city administrator and South Dakota City Management Association president, addressed the council and citizens present at the start of the meeting about the benefits he sees of having a city administrator. Weiland noted that he spent time as a city administrator in Minnesota and Lennox before going to Dell Rapids six years ago.

Weiland feels city’s that have a city administrator do a good job of better managing and are well organized. He says benefits of a city administrator means that person works to help organize city council meetings, researches topics and provide recommendations on issues. A successful city administrator has the support of the council, mayor, city staff and the community.

“You have to be on board. You have to know and feel this is a good move. You have to support that person if you hire someone,” Weiland said. “I think these positions can help bind everyone together internally.”

Chad Ulvestad, Tea Economic Development Corp. president, addressed the council and said they are not opposed to a city administrator and think it would help with communication. They are concerned that if this person took on the economic development duties, their organization would suffer or be overlooked. He encouraged the council if they wanted to hire a city administrator that took on economic development then he hoped the council would look at their background.

Mayor John Lawler wanted to make it clear that they were not just hiring a city administrator. At this time, he feels that is the city’s biggest need and then an economic development director later.

Longtime TEDC member Wayne Larsen noted that it is frustrating to not see significant economic development activity. He said they need someone that can get out there and make things happen.

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