Citizens panel selected for city mgr. hunt

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Albert Lea city leaders have released the names of the residents who might be a part of the citizens panel for the city manager interviews next weekend.

The panel will interview the finalists on March 20, while other interviews are taking place with department heads and the Albert Lea City Council.

All interviews are open to the public for observation.

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Finalists to be interviewed are Dean Torreson, city administrator of Macomb, Ill.; Michael Lombardo, former city manager of Iowa City, Iowa; Jim Norman, interim city administrator of Afton; Alan Lanning, city manager for Castle Pines North, Colo.; and David Torgler, former city administrator of Leavenworth, Wash.

The citizens tentatively on the panel are the following: Bryan Purdie, Sheila Schulz, Anne Collier, Ann Austin, Susie Petersen, Darryl Meyer, Dave Bonnerup, Tami Staker, Tom Sorenson, Cathy Purdie, Chris Chalmers — and depending on the schedule, Randy Kehr, Dan Dorman and Jon Ford.

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Interim City Manager Lee Bjorndal said the people on the panel were recommended by city councilors and by former City Manager Victoria Simonsen.

Panel members still might change in the next 10 days. While the panel can make recommendations, the City Council will have the decision on which finalist to hire as city manager or even whether to begin the search anew.

Bryan Purdie

Purdie, who is employed as a project manager at Rink Systems in Albert Lea, served on the Albert Lea citizens budget task force in 2009, which met multiple times to come up with budget-saving recommendations for the city.

He is a past graduate of the Leadership program in Albert Lea and was heavily involved with his wife, Cathy, in the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project.

He is also a member of the Human Rights Commission.

Sheila Schulz

Schulz, who has lived in Albert Lea for five years, is involved with various volunteer opportunities in the city.

She’s been involved with Hospice, Meals on the Go, the Freeborn County chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Albert Lea School District — specifically with the curriculum committee and proctor testing, along with science fair judging.

In 2009, she was a member of the Albert Lea citizens budget task force. Prior to moving to Albert Lea, she was on the school board and various other committees in Ashland, Wis.

She is married to anesthesiologist John Schulz at the Albert Lea Medical Center.

Anne Collier

Anne Collier is a member of the Albert Lea Human Rights Commission.

Ann Austin

Austin, the executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County, is the youngest member of the panel.

She formerly worked as a reporter for the Albert Lea Tribune and resides in the city with her husband.

Susie Petersen

Petersen is the executive director of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau and was formerly the executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.

She has been heavily involved with the AARP-Blue Zones Vitality Project and in marketing the city to potential visitors.

Darryl Meyer

Retired director of Human Services for Freeborn County, Meyer is now on the Heritage Preservation Commission for the city.

He was honored as 2009 Citizen of the Year by the District 241 Citizenship Committee for his involvement with the Daybreakers Kiwanis Club, the Meals on the Go program and Youth For Christ, to name a few.

He has lived in Albert Lea just over 25 years.

Dave Bonnerup

Bonnerup, a former executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County, is currently the development director for the Naeve Health Care Foundation.

Before his work with the United Way, he was a promise fellow with AmeriCorps, taught business at Riverland Community College, worked for a big business and owned Bonnerup Funeral & Cremation Service. He sold the funeral home about 12 years ago.

Tami Staker

Staker, the owner of Celebrations Party & Gifts, moved to the area in 2004.

Since moving to Albert Lea, she has been closely tied to the downtown as president of the Albert Lea Downtown Association.

She has also been involved with the Land Between the Lakes action team.

Tom Sorenson

Sorenson, who works as the agency director of Americana Insurance, is the chairman of the Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Cathy Purdie

Purdie, the marketing director at Trails Travel Center, was also closely associated with the Vitality Project in Albert Lea.

She organized the restaurant initiative with the project in which area restaurants pledged to provide healthy options on their menus.

Purdie also serves on the CVB board of directors and the Heritage Preservation Commission.

Both she and her husband are actively involved at Crossroads Church.

Chris Chalmers

Chalmers has been the Albert Lea Community Education director since 2007 and was the local co-chairman of the Vitality Project in 2009.

Prior to his Community Education position, he worked at Albert Lea High School for 18 years — 13 as an English teacher and five as an administrative dean.

He moved to Albert Lea a little over 20 years ago.

Randy Kehr

Kehr, the executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, moved to Albert Lea with his wife, Ellen, in 1997.

A retired hotel executive, he has been heavily involved with the city since moving to town.

He and his wife served as the United Way campaign chairman and chairwoman in 2005. He was also named the honorary chairman for the first American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Freeborn County in 2003.

Dan Dorman

Dorman, the executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, is most closely connected to the economic development and business community in Freeborn County.

He is a former representative for District 27A of the Minnesota House of Representatives and is part owner of Hanson Tire Service in Albert Lea.

Jon Ford

Ford has been the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority executive director since 2002 when he moved to Albert Lea from western Nebraska.