The Le Sueur City Council Monday unanimously approved a motion to offer the position of city administrator to Jenelle Teppen.
Teppen, a Northfield resident, is currently the assistant city administrator for Dakota County's Inver Grove Heights, serving in that position since 1998.
On Monday the council interviewed its three final candidates, which also included former Arlington City Administrator David Krueger and Gaylord City Administrator Kevin McCann. The three candidates answered a series of questions from the council for about 45 minutes each.
After the round of interviews, council members voiced their opinions on which candidate they felt most comfortable with and Teppen stood out as the board's pick. Council members Darvin Wicks and Benjamin Rohloff were the only two who did not list Teppen as their top candidate.
During the interview, Teppen highlighted her experiences as an assistant city administrator and how those experiences helped her improve throughout the past two decades.
“I've been doing this for the better part of 19 years,” Teppen said. “I like it all, it’s all a challenge ... I love what I do.”
Teppen also said she expects her staff to be hard-working and flexible in how their priorities may change over time.
“I feel like I am friendly and approachable. I am a forthright and an open communicator,” she said.
Councilor Tom Tellijohn said he likes the idea that Teppen comes from a community bigger than Le Sueur and with a different outlook due to the nature of issues in a larger city. Inver Grove Heights has a population of about 34,000.
“This is a nice opportunity for us to get somebody with a wider range of experience,” Tellijohn said.
Councilor Joe Spinler, who was on the committee which narrowed the candidates to three, said he is pleased to endorse Teppen as the city administrator.
“I was really comfortable with her answers and direct approach,” Spinler said. “I think she calls it as it is.”
Councilor Jeff Kerkow, who was also on the committee to narrow down the candidates, said he was impressed with Teppen’s motivation.
“She was the only candidate who said she was already going to set goals in the first 30 days of working,” Kerkow said.
The council Feb. 24 set a salary range of $75,000 to $105,000 for the new city administrator. On Monday, the council unanimously approved Mayor Bob Broeder to immediately begin contract negotiations with Teppen. The council also agreed to offer an incentive offer to Teppen. If Teppen moves to the city of Le Sueur, she will be paid an annual stipend of $15,000 and relocation costs up to $5,000.
“It’s very important to me that we get this person in town and get her involved in the community,” Tellijohn said.
Teppen, if she accepts the offer, will replace longtime city administrator Rich Almich, who plans to retire at the end of the month.
Reach reporter CJ Siewert at 507-931-8576 or follow him on Twitter @LNHcj