By SHELBY LINDRUD
West Central Tribune
WILLMAR, Minn. — The Willmar City Council voted unanimously Thursday to offer the position of city administrator to Isaac (Ike) Holland, currently the city administrator of Chillicothe, Missouri.
“I think we’re at a point where Holland’s skill set will serve us better,” Councilor Shawn Mueske said.
Holland was chosen after the council interviewed the three finalists for the job – Holland, Darcy Long and Greg Sund.
Sund is the Hays Public Works Director and former Ellis County Administrator.
“This is my 16th year in city management. I’ve been doing this a long time,” Holland said.
Holland has held his current position since August 2011 and has ties to western Kansas.
He has also been the county assistant manager and county emergency manager for Montrose County, Colorado; the town administrator of Orchard City, Colorado, the assistant city administrator for Ulysses, Kansas; and the human resource compensation manager for Topeka, Kansas.
“I’ve worked my way up. I think I’ve learned from people over the years that I have worked with,” Holland said. He also spent time in the Army as a finance and accounting officer.
While the council did have some concerns about Holland’s experience in dealing with the finances of a city the size of Willmar, they did feel he would do a good job communicating, not only with the council and city staff, but the community as a whole.
“I thought he had excellent communication skills. He seemed very enthusiastic,” Councilor Andrew Plowman said.
Holland said he is there to carry out the council and community’s vision.
“I work for the council, I work for the mayor. I make that explicit on day one. What they want done is what I focus on,” Holland said.
He also said he won’t compromise on honesty, integrity and the ethics he lives by.
“I do preach we will have honesty and integrity and I try to live by that as well. I go out of my way to be out front with people,” Holland said.
Willmar Human Resource Directors Budget Buckingham shared what the city’s department heads thought of all the candidates, and Holland ended up being the staff’s favorite.
“The public would respect and work well with Ike,” Buckingham said, sharing staff thoughts.
The next steps will be for the hiring committee to begin contract negotiations with Holland, if he accepts the position. Gary Weirs of David Drown Associates, who lead the administrator search, did say Holland is also a finalist for the city administrator position in Baxter. That Minnesota city has scheduled final interviews for March.
In his resume, Holland said both he and his wife have family and friends living in Minnesota and that two of his children will be attending college at University of Minnesota-Morris.