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Opinion: What makes a good administrator?

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opinion Rosemount, 55024
Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Next Thursday the Rosemount City Council will ask residents what qualities they value in a city administrator. We're going to take our chance now to provide our input.

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Rosemount's new city administrator needs to be good with people. Maybe that seems obvious, but it's hardly a given. There's a fine balance between providing strong leadership and becoming a tyrant people eventually tune out. To be successful, a city administrator has to deal well with both city staff and the community at large. That's not always easy when people with different views on a project choose to accuse you loudly and not always politely of leading the city down the wrong path.

He or she should work well with the media, too. City officials and reporters should never be too close, but there needs to be a friendly working relationship. Call us selfish, but we like to know that when we need information for a story -- positive or not -- we're going to get a call back.

Rosemount's new administrator needs to be creative. The city is going to face some challenges in the years to come. With voters defeating a proposed bond referendum late last month the city will need to find new ways to provide the fields and other facilities Rosemount's growing youth sports programs need and to turn the former St. Joseph Church building into something more useful than a monument for drivers who pass by on Highway 3. Flint Hills Resources donated the land on which the city hoped to build its recreation complex. Maybe there are similar partnerships out there that could help turn the property into something more than empty fields.

Finally, Rosemount needs a city administrator who's not afraid to think big. Often, growing cities like Rosemount look to smaller cities for their administrators. They find someone who has succeeded in a small town and is looking to take a step up to something bigger. That can work with the right candidate, but Rosemount isn't a small town anymore, and the city needs someone prepared to deal with the challenges of running a city that is big and getting bigger.

It takes a lot more than those four qualities to succeed as an administrator, but we believe this is a good start.

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