WSP narrows list of city manager candidates

West St. Paul is one step — or four more eliminations — away from selecting its next city manager.

The city has narrowed its list of applicants to five for a position that has been vacant for nearly two years.

The city, working with St. Paul-based search firm Springsted Inc., received 42 applications for the role. The first round of vetting eliminated all but 15 of the applicants; after a second review, nine of the candidates were invited to interview with Mayor John Zanmiller and Springsted Vice President David Unmacht.

Zanmiller then recommended five of those candidates for a second interview with the rest of the city council.

The finalists for the position include Jason Ziemer, city administrator for Maple Plain; Michael Erickson, city administrator for Hugo from 2000 to 2011; Patrick Wussow, administrator for Aitkin County; Michael Sable, assistant city administrator of Brooklyn Park, and Matt Fulton, former city manager of Coon Rapids. The council will interview candidates during sessions July 8 and 10.

Prior to hiring Springsted in March, the council attempted to fill the position with an in-house recruiting team. That team, composed of council members, named Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark as the next manager, but the offer fell apart during salary negotiations.

West St. Paul’s last city manager, John Remkus, left the position in November 2011 after accepting an early retirement package. Assistant City Manager Sherrie Le has been serving as acting city administrator in the interim.

Unmacht praised the candidates during a June 24 council workshop, saying each seem qualified in credentials and personality to hold West St. Paul’s top position.

“When it’s hard for a council to make a choice, that’s a good thing,” Unmacht said. “I think we’re in a really good place here.”

— Luke Reiter

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