Recruiter becomes the recruited in Arden Hills

City’s long search for new city administrator ends with Joynes

When Arden Hills city administrator Pat Klaers retired in the fall of 2015, city officials turned to a hiring firm to look for his replacement. After nearly a year and a half of searching, it turns out that Klaers’ replacement has been right under the city’s nose. 

Mayor David Grant announced at the council’s Jan. 9 meeting that Bill Joynes — who has consulted with Arden Hills for nearly a decade and was actually assisting the city in recruiting for the position — is the suburb’s choice for new city administrator. 

“Bill joins us with, let’s just say, many, many years of experience,” Grant said while introducing Joynes at the meeting. Grant noted that Joynes has not only served as city administrator in a number of cities, but that he’s also taught public administration.

Concurrent to his work at various cities, including White Bear Lake, Golden Valley, Pine City and Shorewood, Joynes has taught in the Graduate School of Public Administration and Business at Hamline University for the past 30 years. 

In a question-and-answer-formated statement, Joynes said, “My experience and skillset matched [the city’s] needs, and the timing was right.”

The timing, or lack thereof, has been a point of contention on the council and for some Arden Hills residents. 

With the city’s development of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site, also known as Rice Creek Commons, several residents have expressed concerns and anxieties about the city’s seemingly relaxed approach to hiring for vacant city staff positions over the past several months.

By the end of August 2016, the small suburb — with a massive development project on its hands — wasn’t only down a city administrator, but a couple other key city positions as well, including a public works director, who also performed the duties of city engineer and assistant city engineer, and a city planner.

Sue Iverson, director of finance and administrative services, was handling the duties of city administrator, but it was clear to city officials that some help was needed on the staffing front.

Back in late August, Arden Hills’ two-person personnel committee met with the city’s consultant — Joynes himself, who was employed by Midwest Government Advisors at the time — and asked him to analyze the situation.

Joynes had originally been tapped to help recruit a new city administrator, and was asked by the committee to also seek a city engineer to contract with, and some city planning help as well.

Joynes did just that, in a manner of speaking, negotiating what Grant called “a very good proposal” for not only engineering and planning services, but also interim public works director services as well.

Those services came by way of WSB and Associates, which has offices around the state and provides engineering, planning, environmental and construction services to clients.

Grant, a member of  the personnel committee, explained in a past interview that the fact that the city hadn’t filled the position of city administrator, which opened up in the fall of 2015, wasn’t because city leaders hadn’t been trying.

Grant said that the council just wanted to find “the right person for the job.”

According to Grant, Joynes is that person. 

“The development of the TCAPP project will be a great experience and, with all the turnover Arden Hills has had at the staff level, I look forward to helping in the recruitment efforts and bringing some stability to the organization,” Joynes said. 

Joynes and his wife Judy have three adult children, who all live in the metro area, two new grandchildren and “have had lots of golden retrievers” over the years, he said while introducing himself in a statement.

The couple has lived in Golden Valley for the last 33 years, and aside from babysitting his grandchildren, Joynes said he enjoys playing tennis regularly, he “golfs adequately” and skis whenever possible.

“I have a lifelong commitment to the local government process,” he said. “And I look forward to working with the council and staff for the next several years.”

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815.

 

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