Help city hall and the city council operate smoothly, serve members of the public, and run elections.
Jacob Kolander, former city clerk-treasurer, Vesta
Kolander is now city administrator/EDA director, Spicer
Why he shows up every day: Seeing progress. Seeing the progress and knowing that it wouldn’t have happened without me. Sometimes you get to toot your own horn and be like, “I did that. I made that happen.”
I grew up here so I have a love for Vesta. We have accomplished several different things since I’ve become city clerk-treasurer here. One is we got a Local Road Improvement Program grant for a gravel road that went by our grain elevator about a mile long. They have talked about paving that road for years and years, so I got that done.
I have one of the best councils, I am very thankful and blessed that I have the council that I have because we all work together very, very well. That is huge. Looking forward to the future, we recently purchased the old school building in town; it’s going to be called the Vesta Community Center. It’s an amazing venue for people and for the future of Vesta. It’s exciting!
How he got the job (and how you could too): I have a high school diploma. I started working in the hospitality industry and worked my way up to being the general manager of a hotel. I did that for 17 years, and I was also an EMT [emergency medical technician] for 15 of those 17 years. And now I’m the city clerk-treasurer of the city of Vesta, it’s going on five years here. I was also the interim city clerk for the city of Morton and the city of Echo, and I am currently back as the interim city clerk of Echo again. Vesta will always be my No. 1 priority, but I like helping out other cities.
The biggest thing for me was being close to home, because I grew up in this town, so this was my way in. It was a good-paying job. I could live back home where my family is. And now that I’ve been doing the job … I don’t work weekends anymore; I don’t really have staff that I would need to worry about calling in sick; I don’t work on holidays; I get three weeks of vacation; I get sick time; I get comp time … why would you ever want to go back to managing a hotel after that?
What’s the job like? It’s everything! In a large city they have a city administrator – in a small city that would be me. You have to be a multi-tasker and you have to be able to work on your own. I do the utility billing, I do the payroll, I do all the human resources, I research ordinances and change them when they need to be changed, I help enforce the ordinances, I take care of council meetings, putting together the packets, writing up the meeting minutes, doing all the research that leads up to a council meeting and after council meetings. In a bigger city a clerk may only do council packets and licensing.
You need to not be afraid to ask questions. If you are a person who tends to think you know it all, this isn’t going to be the job for you, because you would fail. I can’t stress that part enough. You have to be able to ask others for help and assistance.
Are you interested in learning more about a city career? One great way to get advice is to contact someone in your own city or a city nearby. You can ask questions about the job and learn more about training programs that may be available. Connect to city websites and city contact information through the League of Minnesota Cities.