Northfield City Administrator Al Roder selected to be City Administrator of Norfolk, Nebraska


  1. kiffi summa said:

    Joel is a good guy, but how much work is it fair to ask one person to do?
    With admin added to his workload, everyone in the whole hierarchy would be reporting to him.

    Why not try very hard to recruit Bill Bassett, the last interim administrator; Things seemed to go so smoothly under him?

    June 27, 2008
  2. Ross Currier said:

    Griff –

    I think hiring an interim city administrator is not only a good idea, it may be the only realistic option. I’m a huge fan of Joe Walinski, but if he were to drop all the balls that he’s currently juggling, I think Northfield would be in big trouble.

    Perhaps he’s a potential candidate for the permanent position.

    Our previous interim city administrator, Bill Bassett, seemed to be a stabilizing force down at city hall. Personally, I always found him to be straight-taking and above-board. He already knows the city too.

    – Ross

    June 27, 2008
  3. Jane McWilliams said:

    I agree – Walinski does a great job as Public Works Director, but the city is already short staff, and it would be a false economy to ask him to serve as interim. I hope the council will find someone who can serve for at least 6 or 8 months to give the NEW council time to have a thoughtful discussion about what they’re looking for and then do a careful search. It will take the new council a while to get used to each other (!!) which also argues for not rushing the search/hiring.

    June 27, 2008
  4. John S. Thomas said:

    I would agree that Joel rocks… If we could clone and hire about 6 of him, Northfield would be a better place. However, the man must sleep sometime.

    Personally, I am so looking forward to the upcoming election, so that we can get some fresh leadership, and move this community forward. I truly believe that if you are an incumbent, it is going to be a difficult campaign.

    June 27, 2008
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    The Nfld News has Roder’s resignation letter to the Council posted:

    While my relationship with the Mayor has obviously been strained over the past year, I have enjoyed working with the city council. Over the last year this group has become one of the most effective and cohesive elected bodies I have ever worked with. As a council, you have faced many extreme challenges and have maintained professionalism and respect throughout. Your commitment to the good of the greater community needs to be applauded.

    June 28, 2008
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Curt, thanks for the link to the Strib story on Roder but the harsh and insulting phrase you slipped into your comment was over the top so I’ve moderated it. I’ll contact you via email about it.

    June 28, 2008
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    The Goodhue investigation of Roder et al ‘may’ be completed within a month, according to the Strib story:

    Smith took a sudden leave of absence two weeks later, but not before giving the Rice County attorney results of a preliminary criminal investigation believed to involve Roder. The probe was ultimately forwarded to Goodhue County authorities, who have not disclosed details. “We were asked to take a look at the whole big picture” of Northfield city government, said Carol Lee, assistant Goodhue County attorney, who added that her office may finish its review of the investigation within a month

    June 28, 2008
  8. David Koenig said:


    Quick suggestion, could your links to external stories like the Strib one above open in a new browser tab or window? My personal preference is to read external references and close the window to find the original page back in front of me. Just a suggestion…

    June 28, 2008
  9. Curt Benson said:

    Griff, I’m OK with being moderated, my phrase describing overzealous citizens’ actions towards the city administrator and elected officials like Dennsion was harsh.

    But, may I suggest a new thread to discuss the issues that came out in Roder’s letter and Dennison’s remarks in the News? Roder mentions frivolous lawsuits, micromanaging and innuendo. Dennison mentions stalking and death threats. Who in their right mind, would want to be an elected official or administrator in a town where overwrought zealotry is accepted? If “overwrought zealotry” is too harsh, what terms are acceptable for people who are stalkers and issue death threats?

    June 28, 2008
  10. (LoGroNo tech hat on)

    Thanks for your request about external links opening in a new window. I’d like to explain why we don’t do this.

    When links do open new windows by default, the reader has no choice. They have to use the new window. When you just have links function as normal, though, readers can either open it a new window, a new tab, or just let it take the current space.

    If you would like to open in a new window when you click a link, just right-click and then select “Open Link in New Window” (the wording may vary slightly).

    June 28, 2008
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Sean. My favorite right-click option, “open link in new tab” which works for both Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 browsers.

    June 28, 2008
  12. David Koenig said:

    Thanks! I learned something new. 🙂

    June 28, 2008
  13. Patrick Enders said:

    My thanks to Mr. Roder for his hard work during difficult times. Also, my symathies for the difficult situations and outright hostility that he has encountered during his tenure in Northfield.

    From the Northfield News:

    Davis said he fears the turmoil in City Hall will limit its pool of potential candidates. When meeting with elected officials from across the state, Davis said he gets a lot of knowing glances and eye rolls when he says he’s from Northfield.

    The community of city administrators — statewide and across the region — is small, said Davis, adding that they’re all aware of the goings-on in Northfield and that could keep them at bay.

    “That,” said Cashman, “is a great concern of mine.”

    This is the thing that I am most concerned about, as well. I hope we can find a good interrim Administrator who can stick around for a while. I can’t imagine anyone who is well-qualified wanting to take this job any time soon.

    June 30, 2008
  14. Griff. I assume that the City Administrator position has a written ‘job description’ and a written ‘terms and conditions of employment’. Any chance of blogging that and comparing and contrasting with the Charter?

    On the one hand I can see the merit in waiting until early 2009 for the new, full council to pick the new administrator; ie appoint someone interim. Yet, its just a job, professional and salaried, with all the usual, non-mysterious, prescribed, outlined, formal…and in MN ‘at will’ (?) rider plus the usual ‘and anything else the mayor and council ask you to do’…?

    I think part of the problem is elevating the job to undeserved heights, akin to that of our elected representatives.

    June 30, 2008
  15. …but whatever you do, be very wary of accepting or appointing the recommendation of someone who is leaving – even when the leaving is such sweet sorrow – and not at all if there is even the suggestions of a cloud.

    June 30, 2008

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