Three Vermillion city manager finalists named

Three Vermillion city manager finalists named By David Lias A field of 50 candidates vying to be Vermillion's next city manager has been narrowed to three.

The finalists � all with ties to the region � will be in Vermillion Feb. 1-2 for personal interviews.

During those two days, they will meet with the public, city staff, the Clay County Commission, and officials of Vermillion's public schools and USD.

The staff of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company and the city council will also have opportunities to meet with each candidate individually.

The finalists are:

* Craig J. Mattson, city administrator of East Grand Forks, MN, for the past four years.

He served as the city administrator of Grand Rapids, MN, from 1989 to 2001 and city administrator of Oakdale, MN, from 1980 to 1988.

He holds a B.S. degree from St. Cloud State University and is a master of arts in public administration candidate at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN.

Mattson believes that to be a successful manager, it is necessary to develop a "win/win" mentality. This can happen when you put all ideas on the table and find one you can all agree to, which may be surprising if it is one you have not even thought of yet.

He considers himself an empathetic listener who strives to actually hear and understand what is being said before commenting or acting.

* Joseph P. Pepplitsch, city manager of Lexington, NE, for the past five years. He served as assistant city manager of Lexington from 1997-

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2000, was city administrator of Bloomfield, NE from 1994-97 and served as an administrative intern in South Sioux City, NE in 1994. He holds a B.S. degree and a M.P.A. degree from The University of South Dakota.

Pepplitsch describes himself as a highly energetic and motivated individual who would utilize joint meetings, planning, public involvement, and an open door policy to work with staff and citizens.

He believes an effective manager should utilize a 'bottom up' approach of setting objectives and priorities; from the public, to the staff, to the boards and commissions and finally to the City Council.

* John C. Prescott, assistant city manager of Kearney, NE for the past 12 years. He served as an administrative intern in Burnsville, MN for nine months in 1992, and was interim city manager of Kearney for seven months in 1995-96. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Northern Iowa and M.P.A. degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Prescott believes that an effective manager should serve as a catalyst for community development by asking why we are attempting to achieve certain goals, what we hope to accomplish and who should be involved. He would strive first to obtain a good understanding of the city organization, seek out partners in the community to assist in enhancing the overall quality of life, emphasize unbiased listening, and encourage sharing and accessing of information to provide excellent service delivery.

The personal interview procedure with the finalists is the culmination of a city manager search process which officially began with the appointment of a seven member search committee by the city council at its regular meeting on Oct. 18, 2004.

"Over 50 applications were received and reviewed," Mayor Dan Christopherson said, "requiring many hours of dedicated work by the committee and support staff."

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