The revolving door that is Arden Hills City Hall just took another whirl.
Susan Iverson, who stepped in as interim city administrator during a lengthy period when the city didn’t have one, is leaving. She is currently listed as director of finance and administrative services as well as assistant city administrator.
Arden Hills is in the midst of engineering by far the biggest project in the city’s history, a 427-acre mega-development on the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) site.
Many of the staff departures over the past two years have been people closely involved in that challenging project, including Iverson. Candidates in the last election with inside knowledge of the situation blamed the City Council for micromanaging the project and providing often acid-tongued supervision.
The council often has named outside consultants or interim figures to replace the people who left.
Iverson penned a brief and cryptic note to the council, saying it was “time for a change” after 10½ years at Arden Hills City Hall. She will serve through the end of the year.
City leaders consider on-street parking rule
The Brooklyn Park City Council is considering changes to the city’s on-street winter parking rule and is looking for resident feedback.
The city currently bans overnight street parking between 2 and 5 a.m. from Oct. 15 to April 15 for snow removal. While some support the ban, officials say that many car owners — especially those living in apartments — have needed more parking in recent years and turned to on-street parking.
Council members are weighing whether to shorten the overnight parking ban, keep it as is or expand it to year-round. They expect to make their decision this fall.
Seeking input on the winter ban, city leaders will hold a community meeting on the issue at 6 p.m. on Aug. 24 at City Hall, 5200 85th Av. N. Residents may also take an online survey on the city’s website.
Austin appointed interim police chief
Columbia Heights police Capt. Lenny Austin has been named the city’s interim police chief following the departure of Chief Scott Nadeau, who recently accepted a job as Maplewood’s new director of public safety.
Mayor Donna Schmitt appointed Austin after interviewing him at a July 19 City Council open session, where council members and the public were invited to weigh in on the selection.
Austin has been with the Columbia Heights Police Department since 1995 and has worked as captain since 2008, according to the city.
He will act as chief until the mayor makes a permanent appointment, an authority granted her by the city’s charter.
City Council adds two part-time firefighters
The Lake Elmo City Council has added two part-time firefighters to fill in from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through Saturdays, in an effort to stem concerns about possible shortages of volunteer firefighters during emergencies.
“Our numbers are dropping significantly,” Fire Chief Greg Malmquist told the City Council recently.
Malmquist said an average of 14 volunteers responded to calls in 2012, but now fewer than five do so. In a growing number of instances, he said, a city fire truck will respond to a call with only one person on board.
In June, the department had 42 calls of which 27 were “medicals” and one was a structure fire. Three were car accidents with injuries and one was a water rescue.
The majority of fire calls in the city of about 8,800 residents happen in daytime hours, Malmquist said.
Council Member Julie Fliflet indicated interest in forming an east metro fire district to share costs and equipment. Malmquist said it would be difficult to combine services, training and pay structures but said it could be done.
“I don’t think there’s a fire chief in Washington County today who would discourage a countywide fire department,” he said.
Filing to open for city, school elections
Filings will open Tuesday for candidates interested in running this fall for City Council seats in Mahtomedi, St. Paul Park and the school board in South Washington District 833.
Mahtomedi will elect two council members for four-year terms, and voters in St. Paul Park will select two council members for four-year terms and a mayor to fill the last two years of former Mayor Keith Franke’s unexpired term.
Sandi Dingle was appointed to temporarily replace Franke, who was elected to the Legislature.
In the South Washington district, voters will elect four board members for four-year terms and also choose a candidate to fill the last two years of the term of former Board Member Joe Slavin, who died in early June.
Filings will close Aug. 15. Candidates wanting to withdraw from the ballot must do so by Aug. 17. More details are available at www.co.washington.mn.us/672/Candidate-Filing/.
Police get pictures of a former fallen officer
Hastings police have finally obtained photos of Albert Jacobson, a Hastings officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1894.
Gloria Hagestuen, a descendant of Jacobson’s, met with Chief Bryan Schafer this month and shared with him the only known photos of Jacobson. The department hopes to use a picture for a permanent memorial.
Jacobson died after chasing two burglary suspects near a rail yard. He was the first of seven Dakota County law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.