City will look for 5 candidates

FAIRMONT – The job description for the city’s new economic development director was the focus of the Fairmont Economic Development Authority meeting Monday.

Mike Humpal has served in a dual capacity as city administrator and economic development director for the past two years, but the City Council recently voted to separate the duties beginning Jan. 1, prompting a search for a new development leader.

The city has hired Springsted and Associates, a Minnesota-based firm, to handle the search.

The firm will refer about four or five candidates for interviews, probably in November.

Authority board members asked about the timeline for hiring someone, and if the City Council supports the job description drafted by Humpal.

“Is the council on the same page?” asked Tom Lytle.

Yes, responded Councilman Joe Kallemeyn, council liaison to FEDA. He said the council specifically wants a person with at least five years of economic development experience and other “desirable qualities.”

“We want somebody that’s dedicated to drumming up new employers in town,” Kallemeyn said.

Humpal added that he plans to outline expectations for the new hire, but it would be “unrealistic” to specify a set number of jobs to create.

“But with five to seven years of experience, they would have an idea [of job duties] and contacts,” he said.

“The first year, he’s got to get out and meet our local businesses,” Kallemeyn said.

This will provide familiarity with their needs.

Humpal requested input from the authority board members.

“I would like to see this board providing ideas for this person,” he said.

The new economic development director will have a salary and benefit package in the $100,000 range, which is “pretty competitive,” Humpal said.