Northfield City Administrator Joel Walinski resigns; accepts position in Leavenworth, Washington


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    So should the Council seek an interim City Administrator like Bill Bassett who took over after Susan Hoyt until they hired Al Roder?

    Or should the Council appoint someone currently on staff as interim admin like they did Joel Walinski after Al Roder left?

    July 13, 2010
  2. Felicity Enders said:


    July 14, 2010
  3. Ross Currier said:

    Personally, I thought Bill Bassett was terrific; I wonder if he’s still available.

    Perhaps there’s another interim candidate out there who has had experience balancing budgets in tough times.

    July 14, 2010
  4. William Siemers said:

    So…now the council should get his candid opinion on how to reduce personnel, consolidate departments, etc. This is a good opportunity to get input from someone who knows how the staff functions better than anyone else. Who should stay and who could go. Hopefully he will cooperate and give the council some good ideas.

    July 14, 2010
  5. Jane McWilliams said:

    Ross, we’ll be lucky to find someone as good as Bassett. I think Walinski’s leaving is understandable for him personally, but it sure adds to the council’s burdens at a time when strong leadership is critical. It is unfortunate that they have the distraction of finding an interim at the same time they’re deciding about the facilities projects and the 2011 budget, annexation, etc.

    I hope you’re right, William, that Walinski’s remaining weeks will bring out the best in his leadership.

    July 14, 2010
  6. kiffi summa said:

    One, just one, question that arises is this: will this slow down, or how will it impact, the 14.4 million $$ referendum?

    Mr, Walinski has often said , in meetings, that the city could NOT oversee two major projects at once (safety center and library); so can the ‘city’, with a new or interim administrator, oversee one 14.4 million $$ project?

    July 14, 2010
  7. Jane McWilliams said:

    That’s an important question, Kiffi. I stuck me when I heard about the resignation, that it would be a good idea to postpone the projects – for that reason, along with several others.

    July 14, 2010
  8. norman butler said:

    This is really weird. A bit like when 2 million dollars went down the toilet two years ago and we all said “whoops, next item on the agenda please” (not that they are related of course – and BTW 2m is the budget shortfall). I really liked Joel and thought he was a breath of fresh air in the city and could sort things out and get things done. What happened? Joel? Afore ye ga?

    July 15, 2010
  9. kiffi summa said:

    On the NFNews website, 8:15 Saturday night, so not in the print version of the paper, Suzy Rook writes in her column, “Writer’s Block”, a provocative article about Joel Walinski’s departure.

    The first sentence is: “What, if anything does Joel Walinski’s resignation say about Northfield?”

    If the newspaper were ever to have been analytical, the first sentence of an article three and a half years ago might have been: “What ,if anything might Joel Walinski’s elevation , by Al Roder , to the ‘second in command’ of city staff, say about

    *** Let me interject a personal note here: I think Mr. Walinski (although his professional background would indicate a public works manager rather than the top job of city administrator) has done a very good job of managing projects, and his conduct/interactions, with the Council at meetings is without doubt the best I have seen in the last ten years ( when I have also had council observing responsibilities for the League of Women Voters) better than any of the previous city administrators who have been in the permanent position.
    Mr. Walinski has excelled in many areas of his position as City Administrator.

    Back to three and a half years ago: I was at the council retreat early in 2007, Al Roder’s first, and heard the staff restructuring announcement which would put Mr. Walinski effectively in the number two position , i e., with the department heads reporting to him and his responsibility then to Mr. Roder.
    At the time , I found it unusual for a top administrator so new in his position to delegate away his responsibilities of dept heads, but it also seemed somewhat understandable given Mr. Roder’s rather small amount of experience as a city administrator. Mr. Walinski was obviously the more experienced career city employee, although in a different area.
    IMO, ‘things’ went from bad to worse, through no fault of Mr. Walinski’s… and the entire Roder /Lansing debacle ensued.

    It was the July 28th, 2007 issue of the NFNews that blasted a huge picture of the current Mayor Lansing, and two huge articles about his personal finances, as well as allegations of misconduct , all over the front page.
    Almost three years ago, exactly.

    It is my opinion that any newspaper that can do the investigative work that it did AGAINST the then Mayor, could have… if it chose… also done the investigative work relevant to the then City Administrator … that which it chose NOT to do.

    I would be referring there to that person’s personal finances, and the questions of possible fiscal mismanagement re: development projects and downtown ‘improvements’ in Denison, Iowa, the immediately preceding place of employment. I cannot imagine any truly investigative,or even just reporting, journalism entity passing on that story.

    The last sentence of Ms. Rook’s article is: “We’ll probably never know why Walinski resigned, but if the reasons were political and not personal, Northfield would do well to consider if that’s the kind of town it wants to be.”

    I have a question ; might Northfield ask: “We’ll probably never know why the Northfield News chose their initial position re: Roder/Lansing without investigating and reporting both sides before editorially expressing a position, but if it was personal AND political, would Northfield do well to consider if that’s the kind of newspaper it wants to have?

    July 19, 2010

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