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Question and answer with the city administrator finalists

James Hurm

Current position: Austin city administrator

Education: Masters in public administration, Northern Illinois University; Doctorate of public administration, Hamline University

What attracted you to Rosemount?

Rosemount is an attractive community which is close to the Twin Cities and to the Hurm family. It is facing growth issues and opportunities that attract me professionally.

What issues do you think Rosemount will face as it continues to develop and grow?

Rosemount will remain a special place, unique from other cities as we grow, if we can answer questions such as: Will we develop in an environmentally friendly manner? What amenities will we emphasize? What community do we want to leave for our children?

What experience do you possess that will help lead Rosemount into the future as it deals with these issues?

The most valuable experience I possess is in building partnerships to attain city goals. We will need to work with citizens and citizen groups, the county, neighboring cities, the Met Council, state and federal governments, as well as the non-profit and private sectors. Developing and maintaining working collaborations has been the cornerstone of my career.

Dwight Johnson

Current position: Most recent position was village manager of Homer Glen, Ill., a growing southwest suburb of Chicago. I previously managed the cities of Plymouth (10 years) and Shoreview (six years) in the Twin Cities area.

Educational background: Carleton College, B.A.; University of Colorado, Masters in public administration

Family: Married with three adult children; two married and living in the Twin Cities area and one baby grandchild who took her first steps this week.

What attracted you to Rosemount?

Answer: Rosemount is a fast growing community and this has been my area of specialty throughout my career. When I drove through the area a few weeks ago, I was very impressed with the quality of the neighborhoods and the variety of housing options. It was someplace where I would want to live and buy a home. Professionally, the community faces many interesting challenges such as downtown and commercial development, the UMore property, development of park and recreation facilities, preservation of sensitive environmental areas, and someday, possible commuter rail service. I was also impressed when I read the biographical sketches of the council members and watched several meetings by webcast. Finally, my wife and I would very much welcome the opportunity to be close to family members again.

What issues do you think Rosemount will face as it continues to develop and grow?

I mentioned some of them above, and certainly in the short term finances will have to be managed very carefully. The council has identified priority goals. The challenge is to make progress on important community goals without raising tax rates. But the biggest challenge is to maintain and build community. This involves building relationships with both the residents and the many public and private institutions and community groups serving the area.

What experience do you possess that will help lead Rosemount into the future as it deals with these issues?

Each of the communities I have managed has been fast growing. Rosemount is on its way to becoming one of the larger communities in the area, and my experience in Plymouth (population 70,000) gives me insight into what Rosemount will need to do to adjust to becoming a larger community. I have worked with many large businesses, industries and retail stores and I understand how they think and approach development opportunities. The communities where I have worked prided themselves on low tax rates and I have experience making excellent progress on community goals and building communities while maintaining low tax rates. In the two area communities where I worked for more than 16 years, Plymouth was just voted the number one "Best Place to Live" by Money Magazine and Shoreview was just voted as one of the top 10 places to raise a family by Family Circle Magazine. And my first community, Grand Island, Neb. was designated an "All American City during my time there in the 1980s.

Kimberly Lindquist

Current position: Rosemount community development director/interim city administrator

Educational background: BA political science and MS urban and regional planning, both from University of Wisconsin-Madison

Family: Married, husband Kelly and three children, Rose 13, Madeline 11, and Joseph 8.

What attracted you to Rosemount?

I started working for the city in the fall of 2003. At that time there was a new Council who was working to redevelop the downtown. The opportunity to work on the downtown project through the entire planning, approval, development and implementation process was especially of interest to me.

My interest in the city administrator job stems from my work experience at the city. The community is a great place to work because of citizens engaged in the process, a good council and an experienced, capable staff. The community, with its combination of new growth and redevelopment opportunities, provides job challenges that also make working for Rosemount exciting and unique.

What issues do you think Rosemount will face as it continues to develop and grow?

Answer: The city must balance growth with its ability to provide the services currently desired by residents in an efficient and economical manner. In some cases additional growth will allow the city to provide additional amenities that will serve the community. Expansion of the tax base is also a priority, and growth must be targeted toward businesses and development that will enhance the city's tax base while providing jobs and services desired by the community.

One of the fundamental difficulties with growth is balancing the desire for a small town atmosphere while still recognizing the community will continue to grow. Other issues relate to the current land use pattern in the city and ways to enhance existing available property; the upcoming development of the University of Minnesota property, which will change the landscape of the community; and the desire to provide retail and service opportunities for existing and future residents while competing directly with neighboring communities.

What experience do you possess that will help lead Rosemount into the future as it deals with these issues?

I have more than 20 years of planning experience in a variety of metropolitan communities. My experience allowed me to work with communities in different phases of their development. I have supervisory experience and am familiar with how cities operate.

I have worked in the community for the last 4 1/2 years and understand many of the goals of the current city council and residents. I have the background in the downtown redevelopment project, economic development in the community, and working with various development partners such as the CDA, University of Minnesota, and Dakota County to achieve common goals that enhance the quality of life for the city.

Michael Mornson

Current position: City manager, St. Anthony Village

Educational background: BS in public administration from Mankato State

University; Mini-Masters in public administration from Hamline.

Family: Wife, Debra, Son Nicolas and Daughter Whitney.

What attracted you to Rosemount?

This is a very exciting time for the community of Rosemount. There are tremendous opportunities

for the city to continue building on what already exists in the community. What attracted me more than anything else is that the city of Rosemount is poised and ready for a number of projects that will have an impact on the entire community long into the future. Completion of the library, redevelopment of the downtown, improvements to U more park, creation of a transit station, continued growth in the business park-each has the potential to make Rosemount an even better place to live, work, shop, play and learn.

What issues do you think Rosemount will face as it continues to develop and grow?

Managing growth and encouraging development that is in the best interest of the entire community will be an ongoing challenge. The current economy underscores the need for the city of Rosemount to work with residents and businesses, our taxpayers, to ensure responsible growth. Thoughtful, inclusive growth and development will foster progress in Rosemount that residents and business will be proud to call their own. Some of the more obvious issues related to development and growth in Rosemount will include management of downtown redevelopment, ongoing business growth and housing development. As the community grows so, too, will the demand for municipal services. The city will be challenged to continue providing quality, yet affordable, services that keep pace with growth taking place throughout the community.

What experience do you possess that will help lead Rosemount into the future as it deals with these issues?

I have 23 years of experience as a municipal leader in both city manager and administrator positions. The last 14 years of my career have been as the City Manager for the City of St. Anthony. One of the projects I managed that has a great deal of relevance to Rosemount involved the redevelopment of an aging commercial area in St Anthony into a functional new mixed used development that consisted of a new downtown, with 500 housing units, two major stores and a park feature. My overall experience includes management of growth issues on a variety of fronts -- from replacement of outdated public works and fire facilities in St. Anthony to community growth and annexation issues when I worked at the city of Big Lake. I think it is important to note that a key component of being a good leader is the ability to work effectively with those around you-whether elected officials, city staff or members of the community. I have managed a wide variety of events and projects throughout my career and know that these achievements are successful because of the people around me.

James "Jim" Norman

Current position: Consultant; previously Ramsey city administrator and currently interim city administrator for Afton

Educational background: Masters degree in public administration

Family: Three children, 19-year old daughter and 10-year old twins (boy and girl)

What attracted you to Rosemount?

Certainly the rapid growth issues are similar to those I experienced in Ramsey (a northern suburb of Minneapolis) and I thought my experience would be a good fit for the position.

The UMore Park is intriguing because there are seldom opportunities to be part of a planned community process. I was in attendance at the public listening session in September of 2007 for the UMore Park session of transportation even before the city administrator position vacancy. I also attended a presentation session of four scenarios for the development held in June.

What attracted me the most would have to be rail opportunities and potential of transit-oriented development in the areas of future rail stops. The Dakota County Rail Authority identifies two potential rail corridors in both the downtown and in the UMore Park project with logical station stops in Rosemount along both corridors. Mixed-use development that combines commercial and residential development in the immediate area that is walking distance to the station is something that our society desires, which is evidenced by the projects along the Hiawatha light-rail line from Bloomington to Minneapolis. I was attracted to these exciting projects and I believe they are cutting-edge, not only for the Twins Cities metro area, but for our society.

What issues do you think Rosemount will face as it continues to develop and grow?

Growth creates challenges, not only for the community and how to plan for the growth, but also organizationally. As the need for public services expand, a corresponding method to address the new service demands must be developed (strategic planning) in order to respond in an appropriate manner, both in terms of human and capital resources.

Issues that will need to be addressed certainly will include the 2004 Downtown Redevelopment Plan (which includes consideration for the former St. Joseph's Church as a Community Center); create a partnership with the University of Minnesota in the development of UMore Park; development of a corridor coalition with neighboring communities for highway improvements and rail potential; attainment of life cycle housing opportunities and management of a City government organization that maintains a service and staffing level the community deserves.

What experience do you possess that will help lead Rosemount into the future as it deals with these issues?

My past experiences in a rapidly growing suburban community serve me well, but more importantly my experience in the planning and development of transit-oriented development. While I was in Ramsey I worked with the early stages of the NorthStar Commuter Rail project and assisted with the initiation of the Ramsey Town Center, a transit-oriented development in the area of a future rail stop.

My management of a rapidly growing community has allowed me to be involved with long-term fiscal impact studies and organizational studies to meet the demand for delivery of public services.

While my experiences in Ramsey did not allow a great deal of redevelopment, I had experiences with three previous communities in Downtown Redevelopment over my 20 years in public administration.

I was instrumental with organizing neighboring communities to create the Highway 10 Corridor Coalition, which was modeled after the 35W Corridor Coalition.

I have an excellent understanding of collaboration with other cities and other governmental agencies, having served as the President of the Minnesota City/County Manager's Association (2005-06).