New city administrator excited to help Lanesboro keep moving forward
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:10 AM
Lanesboro's search for a new city clerk and administrator officially ended on June 10 when David Todd began what he hopes will be a "long relationship" with the people and the city.
New Lanesboro City Clerk and Administrator David Todd has been on the job since June 10. With undergraduate and graduate degrees in public administration, Todd said he was excited to be in Lanesboro and looking forward to using his passion of public service for Lanesboro’s benefit. ANTON ADAMEK/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
The city had been looking for a new clerk/administrator ever since the former one, Bobbie Jo Vickerman, had resigned after 10 years and moved on to a new job with Winona County. The opening provided an opportunity for Todd to realize a career goal of his to make it into city management.
Todd, 43, grew up and went to grade school in Des Moines, Iowa. Upon graduating from East High School, Todd studied public administration as an undergraduate student at Northwest Missouri State University. That was enough for him to know city management was what he wanted to focus on. He pursued and received a graduate degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in local government management.
According to Todd, the school had a top 15 program in the nation for his desired field of city government. He also took an opportunity to do an internship with the city of Maryville, Mo.
"That laid the bedrock and gave me the basic skill set for me to strike out on my own," he said.
Following school, Todd took a law enforcement job in Maryville with their Department of Public Safety. He, his wife, Hilarie, and their son, Riley, continued to live there. After 13 years working in law enforcement, Todd said he wanted to make a transition to a job that aligned more with his graduate degree.
"It was a time in my life when I was ready to transfer," he stated.
The Lanesboro City Council had approved the posting of the open clerk/administrator position on the League of Minnesota Cities website. Todd was researching opportunities in the states surrounding Missouri.
"I didn't want to stray too far from home," he explained.
Having only been in Minnesota one other brief time in his life, he still went on the League's website and noticed the Lanesboro position.
"I liked the town, the amenities, and the proximity to Rochester, so I put in an application," Todd added.
This was in April. He was called by the city for an interview in May, and a few short weeks later Todd was moving himself and his family up to Rochester, where they now live.
"The process was very fast," he said, adding, "Everybody up here has been welcoming and gracious."
One thing Todd credits his previous work experience with was the exposure to working within a council framework. The differences come from the fact that Todd worked in a law enforcement capacity, while here, he said, things are more administrative.
"The challenges and the benefits are similar so it will be a pretty smooth transition" he stated. Todd also said he has skills that will help him out in the early stages of his new job.
"You have to have a personable skill set," he noted. "You have to deal with the people who are upset and the people wanting directions to the next town."
Todd said he will deal with everyone in a positive and professional manner even while he deals with a steep learning curve.
"I'm always up for a challenge and I feel like my aptitude for learning is large," he stated.
Todd went on to explain that the Lanesboro position is unique in that he must be both the clerk and administrator, which means taking on many new tasks. In the coming weeks, he will be relying upon his organization skills to keep everything in order.
"There is no shortage of things for me to learn and a lot will be trial by fire," he shared. For example, in his first week, Todd has already been working on the city's 2014 budget. Even through this, Todd has come across technical challenges.
"In a grad school budget exercise, the numbers don't change like they do in a real budget," he admitted.
Other city issues Todd is looking forward to dealing with are those in infrastructure, obtaining grants, business retention and others.
Fiscal responsibility, he said, will come when you can offset project costs with grants and keep businesses in town. He specifically mentioned the dam and water treatment facilities as priorities in the short-term. With any project, Todd said it will be up to the council to determine the city's priorities. "I'm just number-crunching," he laughed.
As the new clerk/administrator, Todd said he would like to propel the city forward. "They are on the right track, and I would like to keep it active and alive," he said.
As much as he is new to the job, he is just as new to the city itself. Todd said he is excited about upcoming events in Lanesboro.
"It's important for administration to be a part of the community that they serve in," he said.
As he researched Lanesboro, Todd said he knew it was a tourist town, which "sounded like a good fit for me and my family." In their spare time, Todd and Hilarie like to travel and try out new restaurants. He also calls himself a "big baseball nut."
"You have to have a zest for public service and I've always had that," explained Todd. "People can expect an honest, ethical and practical administrator."
A transparent government, he said, is how it should be and he encouraged people to stop by with their thoughts as "the door is always open."
Todd can also be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.