The Harmony City Council reviewed a contract with Joel Dhein for the interim city administrator position. Dhein proposed starting on February 5, which would allow for some overlap time before current city administrator Jerome Illg’s resignation goes into effect on February 14. Several of the council members questioned whether that would be enough time for him to learn the ropes, but Mayor Steve Donney pointed out that Dhein has a significant amount of experience as a city administrator at various cities in Minnesota. The interim employment agreement with Dhein was approved for February 5 through May 1 with Dhein working three five-hour days a week plus attending meetings. That will give the council three months to interview and hire a new administrator. Advertising for the position was approved, and a hiring committee will be put together, which will consist of City Attorney Greg Schieber and several members of the council. Mayor Donney suggested having a probationary period of six or 12 months for the new hire. A motion was approved to include a six month and 12 month performance review in the hiring process. The council considered the addition of a part-time office assistant as Dhein will only be in the office three days a week, but no decision was made.
The consent agenda was approved and included the minutes of the previous meeting, a review of the claims, the purchase of four CDs, the November sheriff’s report for Harmony, a temporary interfund transfer for trail land purchases, a liquor license renewal for Harmony Spirits, debt payments, and the removal of six parcels from the TIF district. The annual appointments for 2020 were set with no changes from 2019.
A contract was approved with WHKS & Co. for professional services for the wastewater treatment facility.
The new winter parking ordinance has been going well and tickets are being written to those who leave their cars on the street during snow emergencies.
The Housing Incentive program was renewed for 2020. The Hammel House Development will be penalized for the full amount of the incentive as they were unable to complete the construction of a home in 2019 as agreed. The penalty will be reimbursed upon completion of two homes in 2020.
The bike trail expansion is going smoothly, and the city now owns the land needed. Documentation has been sent in for reimbursement for that land from the DNR.
The small refrigerator in the Harmony Public Library was recently upgraded to a larger one to allow enough space for employees’ food as well as snacks for various programs at the library.
The council reviewed the tentative schedule for the 2020 street and utility improvements project. A meeting was set for February 25 at 7 p.m. to approve bidding out for the project. It was suggested that the council also discuss the job description for the new city administrator at that meeting as well so that the hiring process can move forward. “You probably want to start advertising as soon as possible,” Schieber noted.
A 2.5% cost of living adjustment was approved for city staff in 2020.
The next Harmony City Council meeting will be held on February 11 at 7 p.m.