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Council members share thoughts on interview process

Choosing a new council member to serve the remaining two years of new Minnesota Rep. Kurt Bills term is a big task. Eighteen people applied for the position and the current council members are charged with interviewing them and choosing the replacement.

"We are blessed to have so many people who want to serve and there are a lot of good people," said council member Mark DeBettignies. "It's going to be a process to get through them all and to find a shining star but there will be a shining star."

The Rosemount City Council began interviewing applicants for the open council seat Jan. 11.

After going through the applications mayor Bill Droste said the city has a great pool of candidates to chose from and that he's eager to talk to the residents to find out more.

"I will have to take good notes," said Droste about talking with 18 people.

The council conducted seven interviews Jan. 11 and six interviews on Jan. 12.

At the conclusion of the interviews Saturday, the council will decide whether to have a second round of interviews or to choose a new council member or to hold off the decision until a subsequent council meeting.

Droste expects the council will opt for a second round of interviews but said they will have to play it by ear.

Council member Jeff Weisensel said he is encouraged to see such a large pool. He takes it as a sign people want to be involved in their government. Weisensel hopes those who don't get chosen will get involved at a different level such as taking on a position on a commission.

While the ultimate goal is to fill the council position Weisensel said the exercise will also serve as a way to judge how the public feels about what the council is doing.

"We have a good cross section of people to get a pulse of how residents feel," Weisensel said.

The current council members generally work well together, but each member will have their own take on who will best fill the position, said DeBettignies.

"There's definitely going to be some discussion," said DeBettignies. "I just hope we find somebody who's passionate about what they're doing."

This is the second time a large number of residents has turned out to fill a council seat. In 2008, 26 candidates ran for city council. Weisensel, who was among those 26, said he thinks people are looking to leave their mark and serve the community.

"It's a way to get their feet wet. It's extraordinary that they've all come out," Weisensel said.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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