SLP council approves administrator retirement package

Spring Lake Park City Council members have approved a phased retirement agreement for longtime City Administrator Barbara Nelson.

An assistant to the city administrator job description approved April 16 states the new position will create an opportunity for eventual promotion within a year to fill Nelson’s post.

Essential duties and responsibilities in a written description for the assistant position include oversight of municipal liquor operations, city zoning, human resources and labor relations.

“The successful candidate will initially assist the city administrator with day-to-day management of the city,” the description states.

A bachelor’s degree in business or public administration or a related field is required; a master’s degree in public administration is desired. The application process closes on May 11.

“I will give you quarterly progress reports on how this person is doing,” Nelson told the council.

The new assistant to the city administrator would be hired by July 1.

Nelson’s phased retirement package becomes effective July 15.

She will work a maximum of 20 hours a week or 40 hours a pay period with the schedule of hours worked left to her discretion.

Nelson will receive vacation and sick time earned on a pro-rated basis.

She will receive a salary increase on Jan. 1, 2013, at the same rate as the other non-union employees.

The city will continue to contribute to Nelson’s health insurance plan at the same rate it contributes to full-employees.

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Nelson’s monthly car allowance ($250) and deferred compensation contribution ($100) will stay the same.

Nelson’s city-provided life insurance will remain in force; however, if the council decides to terminate the phased retirement agreement before term, the city will pay Nelson the full value of time remaining in addition to normal severance pay.

Councilmembers unanimously approved Nelson’s phased retirement agreement with no discussion.

According to a cost savings analysis prepared by Nelson, the city of Spring Lake Park will save $49,964 in wages, $7,244 in PERA contributions and $3,822 in Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and Medicare contributions now that her phased retirement plan request has been approved by the council.

Nelson will mark 33 years of city service this September.

Her eventual retirement and options for hiring a successor were last discussed by the council March 29.

In 2008, councilmembers began discussing Nelson’s pending retirement.

City leaders expressed a desire to hire someone who could work with Nelson and ultimately be promoted to city administrator.

Additionally, the council began planning to eliminate Executive Secretary Karen Sorensen’s position.

In a recent email, Sorensen confirmed she would be providing official notice and her last day of employment would be June 29.

Sorensen has been employed as the council and city administrator secretary since June 1995.

Her prior administrative experience with local government includes working in Edina as a building, planning and health department secretary and outstate in the Scottsdale, Ariz., as an audit department secretary.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]