A staffer in St. Paul City Council Member Russ Stark’s office was named to serve in his place temporarily when Stark steps down this month.
Samantha Henningson, who managed Stark’s successful first council campaign in 2007 and has worked as his legislative aide since he took office, will replace him on an interim basis beginning Feb. 21, pending council approval Wednesday.
Stark, who represents the Fourth Ward, announced last month that he would resign to work as chief resilience officer in Mayor Melvin Carter’s administration.
Nine people applied for the interim job, and council members interviewed six candidates during a 90-minute meeting Tuesday.
“People brought different strengths to the table,” said Council President Amy Brendmoen. “It’s amazing how many people are interested in a six-month interim position like that.”
Ultimately, Henningson stood out because she understands the breadth of work in the Fourth Ward and across the city, Brendmoen said.
Henningson said Thursday she’s looking forward to continuing the work already underway, including finishing up long-term projects such as the implementation of organized trash collection.
Henningson will serve in the interim role until a special election is held Aug. 14. As part of the interview process, she pledged that she wouldn’t run for Stark’s seat.
Before working for Stark, Henningson was an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood. She has an undergraduate degree from the College of St. Benedict and a master’s degree from Hamline University.