Before hitting the 50-day mark into 2021, the city of Medford was able to fill the top position at City Hall with a familiar face.
Jed Petersen has one week under his belt as the new administrative director of operations, returning to Medford after working for the city of Faribault’s Public Works Department for nearly four years.
“I liked the idea that I have been here before and I knew what Medford has and what it needs,” Petersen said about his decision to put his name in the hat for the newly created position. “I felt I could really help support Medford and the council’s end goal of improving the city.”
The role was created following the departure of former City Administrator Andy Welti, who was in the position for six years and resigned shortly before Christmas, officially ending his time with the city the day before the new council was sworn in to office. Prior to Petersen being hired, the city council agreed to revamp the position to include the duties that would typically be held by the public works supervisor position – the exact position Petersen held in Medford prior to his move to Faribault.
“I first got involved in public works in Utah and have held various positions largely in the areas of water and sewer for the last 14 years,” Petersen said. “When I went up to Faribault, it was to learn more and expand my knowledge. I was able to learn a whole lot there that I’m able to bring back to Medford.”
Though there is still much for Petersen to learn as he takes over the reins in Steele County’s oldest community, he said he feels up to the challenge as someone who innately loves small towns and is a natural people person.
“I like talking to people and getting to know them and building relationships,” Petersen said, noting that he is excited about the much more public nature of the new position. “I also really love the small town feel. I’ve lived in some rather big cities and Medford is definitely the smallest community I’ve worked for. The first community I worked in public works for had a population of 130,000, so I have an idea of how things work from big to small.”
Several large projects are already underway in the city for which Peterson will be the point person, including the Main Street reconstruction project and replacing all the water meters in town. Other projects in the near future are also looming over the position, specifically the state of the city’s wastewater treatment facility. An important factor Petersen said he will need to take in while approaching each of these projects is the pattern of growth Medford is beginning to see.
“Working in Faribault and seeing the growth going on there allowed me to really see what needs to be done and what doesn’t,” Petersen said. “I feel I have a lot of heads up of what to expect.”
With a lot on his plate at one time, Petersen said he feels especially fortunate to have City Clerk Beth Jackson as his right-hand person, adding that she was crucial to his consideration in taking the job. Petersen said he is also looking forward to working alongside the new council and Mayor Danny Thomas, all of whom have dived into 2021 head first with a “no nonsense” attitude.
“I am a very hands-on person myself, so I think it will make it easy for me to communicate with them and just get things done,” Petersen said.