The long and winding road to choosing a full-time city administrator-clerk may soon be coming to an end for Park Falls.
The field of eight job applicants was narrowed last month to four finalists: Jack Ardaugh, Lory Young, Brentt Michalek, and Clark Schroeder.
Candidates have been invited to a meet and greet Wednesday, Aug. 7 with Mayor Michael Bablick, city council members, Chequamegon School District and Price County administrative personnel, and city department heads. On Thursday morning, the council is scheduled to convene for a rigorous interview process of the finalists, which includes an interview by the council, meeting with city employees, personality testing, and a communication evaluation.
“This is the process Public Administration Associates recommended to us. They’ve been great to work with during this process,” Bablick commented Tuesday.
The city has contracted with PAA during the candidate search process, and to help with the government transition.
The administrator form of government is new to Park Falls, which has had a mayor-council form of government since incorporating as a city in 1912. Since the retirement of longtime city clerk Arla Homann in mid-June, the city has contracted the services of interim administrator Steven Kubacki.
Recommendation for the permanent role would be made by the personnel committee and forwarded for approval to the Common Council, which has its regular monthly meeting Monday, Aug. 12, but Bablick said Tuesday it’s too early to tell if a decision or offer will be made at that time.
Ardaugh is an attorney in the greater Chicago area and has been practicing law for over 20 years. He currently lives in Manhattan, Illinois, and has served communities from 2,000 to 26,000 people from the legal and business perspective. Ardaugh said he embraces a collaborative management style.
Schroeder spent 30 years working for St. Croix County Health and Human Services before he became the interim city administrator for Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and most recently county administrator for Curry County, Oregon. He currently lives in Stillwater, Minnesota, and said he is an open door manager and consensus builder.
Michalek worked most recently as a permitting manager for Mobilite LLC, a telecommunications infrastructure company, but served as interim administrative coordinator in Sauk County and previously as director of conservation, planning, and zoning for Sauk County and County of Emmet in Michigan, spanning 11 years.
Young declined to comment.