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Klein and Blettner announce retirement, TH council begins search for replacements

The City of Two Harbors has received notices from long-time city administrator, Lee Klein, and electrical superintendent Steve Blettner of their intent to retire. The recent announcements resulted in council action to begin the process of filling their positions. In addition, the City will seek candidates for an assistant city administrator position.

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The council passed a motion to authorize a seven day internal posting for Blettner’s position and an external advertisement in the event that no internal bids are received. Councilor Roger Simonson also introduced a motion to amend the electrical superintendent’s job description to include a thorough knowledge of the National Electric Safety Code as a qualification for the position. Both motions carried. The council also approved a seven-day internal posting for the assistant city administrator position.

Patricia Nordean has submitted an internal bid for the city administrator position. Her application will now go to a personnel subcommittee made up of councilors Norberg and Simonson, and Mayor Randy Bolen, who will determine if Nordean’s qualifications meet the job description. The council approved the hire of Terri Kragseth to facilitate the selection process of all three positions.

Councilor George Scheidt announced that the Two Harbors HRA is applying for grants to update security after a theft occurred on its property. Scheidt said that the stolen items were recovered, but the security cameras didn’t provide a clear picture of the culprit. The HRA is also seeking the advice of the Two Harbors Police Department in selecting the new equipment.

Although golfers on the council have been pleased with the condition of the greens and work currently underway course’s tee boxes, another issue is causing some consternation. According to Councilor Cathy Erickson, Tee Line Management, the company selected by the city to manage the course and club house, subcontracted food and beverage services to Par Five Bar and Grill. Erickson said that the problem began about three weeks ago when Par Five opted to stop serving food and drinks at the clubhouse if its management determined that business was too slow to justify keeping staff onsite. As a result, golfers stopped at the clubhouse after an afternoon on the links, only to find that they had to go elsewhere for a bite to eat or a post-match quaff.

“Two weeks ago,” said Erickson, “they had a cook come in and make five or six sandwiches and leave. That’s all the girls had to sell all day.” Uncertain as to what recourse the City may have to remedy the situation, Erickson said that the council has brought the issue to its attorney, Steve Overom, for his advice on the matter. An ardent booster of the golf course, despite an annual audit report that revealed an $880,212 deficit in the golf fund last year, Erickson said that this season gave her reason to hope that the red ink bleeding from the operation’s books could be brought under control.

“This is the year that everything was supposed to come together!” she said.

In other council action:

• Christmas came early for the Public Works Department. The council approved the purchase of a new backhoe and hammer in the amount of $65,233. Councilor Scheidt noted that the cost for the equipment came in under budget.

• Concerned with the unsightly lack of grass and abundance of weeds along the boulevards on First Avenue and Waterfront Drive, Councilor Robin Glaser introduced a motion to refer the problem to Public Works and the budget committee for their recommendations.

• The electrical superintendent received council approval to designate several surplus utility poles as discarded equipment. Once designated, the poles may be sold. The asking price is expected to be $100 apiece.

• Just in time for Heritage Days, the council approved the purchase of a canopy for the stage it bought last year. The $5807.77 cost will be covered by a grant from the Two Harbors Area Fund.

• Lake County has submitted an application to the City of Two Harbors allowing it to begin digging trenches for almost 19,000 feet of underground cable. The work is part of its broadband project which will eventually bring high-speed internet to the area.