The East Bethel City Council on Monday night hired Anoka County Commissioner and Board Chair Matt Look to be its new city administrator, ending weeks of speculation as to who would be selected to oversee operations in the far north metro suburb.

Mayor Kevin Lewis in October had identified a candidate to replace outgoing administrator Jack Davis, whose contract is not being renewed, without posting the job. But Lewis kept the name a secret, revealing to council members that Look was the lone candidate being considered just hours before Monday's vote.

Look's name did not appear on Monday's agenda item stating Lewis would introduce the candidate to the council to interview, and that the council "may make a decision to hire or proceed in another direction."

That had some residents claiming East Bethel violated state law, which states names of current and former applicants chosen as finalists for government jobs must be made public.

Nonetheless, the council approved a deal that will pay Look $146,621 annually.

"Congratulations Mr. Look. You will be the new city administrator of East Bethel, Minnesota," Lewis said after council members interviewed Look during Monday's meeting and voted 5-0 to offer him the job.

Look will work 60%-time over the next few months as he transitions into the job. It appears Look will remain on the Anoka County Board through February to fulfill obligations to committees he serves on and continue to draw his $87,984 salary from the county.

"The past 13 years have been amazing, challenging, rewarding and successful," Look said at Tuesday's board meeting. "I have made the decision to move on to the role of administrator. It's time for a fresh set of eyes and ideas to come from District 1," the section of the county he represented.

State law requires either a special election or an appointment to replace Look. A special election would occur on a date to be determined by state law, a county spokesman said.

"We congratulate Commissioner Look on his new role," the spokesman said. "We wish him well in his new career path."

Look's move to East Bethel comes weeks after County Administrator Rhonda Sivarajah announced she is retiring at the end of the year. An email to Look seeking additional comment was not returned Tuesday.

Look began his political career in the early 2000s. He served four years on the Ramsey City Council before being elected to the Anoka County Board. He has represented the western part of Anoka County for the past 13 years and was voted as the new board chair this year. While on the board, Look has also served as chair of the Anoka County Regional Railroad Authority and Finance Committee, as well as serving on Public Safety, Transportation and several other committees.

During the 45-minute interview Monday, Look fielded questions from council members on how he would set budgets, manage employees, negotiate union contracts and respond to criticism from residents.

"For me it is a matter of setting the record straight," Look said. "Whatever is not the truth needs to be met head on. It is important to have a positive message and remind the people of the good work and good projects that are underway."

Look, a graduate of Bethel University, recently earned a master's degree in public administration from Grand Canyon University, a program he said aptly prepared him to run a city. He also said his extensive work in corporate America and public service qualifies him for the job, even though he has never run a city in the past.

"I believe I possess the skills in finance and lobbying that directly relate to projects you might be working on or in the near future," Look told the council.

Look said he had been asking himself "what does post-commissioner life look like" when he learned from a colleague that the East Bethel city administrator job would be coming available. He subsequently met with Lewis, who he had not previously met, which led to Monday's night's vote, Look said.

Look said East Bethel, a city of about 13,000 residents in Anoka County, is the perfect fit.

"It would afford me the opportunity to really develop in this position," Look said. "I don't pull the pin and roll the grenade. I want to make sure we get things done reasonably without creating enemies."

Look said he won't rule out running for public office in the future, saying, " I will leave the door open."

Lewis said East Bethel will honor Davis for his 12 years with the city on Nov. 27.