City News

Awards, recognition, projects, celebrations, staff changes, and other news about Minnesota cities around the state.

Awards & Recognition

Char Friedges, City of Lakeville, was recently honored with the Member of the Year award for 2018 for the Municipal Clerks & Finance Officers Association of Minnesota (MCFOA).

The purpose of the Member of the Year award is to recognize an active member of the MCFOA who has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to their municipality, community, MCFOA, and to the profession of the municipal clerk or finance officer.

Friedges earned the designation of Minnesota Certified Municipal Clerk from the MCFOA in 1992 and went on to achieve her Certified Municipal Clerk designation from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) in 2002. Friedges has served the MCFOA in many capacities, including as president in 2006-2007.

Staff News

Shawn Kessel joins South St. Paul as administrator

The South St. Paul City Council has selected Shawn Kessel as its next city administrator. Kessel comes to South St. Paul from the City of Dickinson, North Dakota, where he has served as the city administrator since 2009. Kessel is succeeding current City Administrator Stephen King, who is retired in July.

Kessel served in Dickinson during a period of intense growth, development, and organizational change. During his tenure, the community was awarded the ‘Best Small Town’ by Livability.com. This national award was achieved while Dickinson was the second-fastest growing micropolitan in the U.S. in 2013. The intense level of growth Dickinson underwent required vision and strategic planning to meet the expanding needs of a burgeoning population. In the two years prior to 2009, the city issued building permits for 200 dwelling units. In 2012-2013, more than 2,200 dwelling permits were issued. Plans were also submitted for over 1.2 million square feet of new retail/commercial space and over $500 million in industrial development that is underway or was recently completed.

Kessel holds an MBA from the University of Mary and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Moorhead State University. He is a past president and board member of the North Dakota League of Cities.

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Weber named Eden Prairie Police Deputy Chief

The Eden Prairie Police Department is pleased to announce the promotion of Greg Weber to the position of deputy chief. Deputy Chief Weber is a 27-year veteran of the department and served as a field training officer, patrol corporal, patrol sergeant, liaison sergeant, and ERU team leader and team commander. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2008 and has served as captain since 2016.

Weber earned a bachelor's degree in law enforcement from Minnesota State University-Mankato, a master’s degree in police leadership, administration and education from the University of St. Thomas, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

“Deputy Chief Weber will remain in charge of Police Department operations,” said Chief Jim DeMann. “This promotion is part of the department’s succession planning process which includes opportunities for training and experience, and will ensure a smooth leadership transition in the future.”

In Memory

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Robert C. Hanson, a former Oakdale mayor and city councilmember, died on May 21 at the age of 88. He served the city as a councilmember from 1972 to 1976, and as mayor from 1977 to 1978. He graduated from North St. Paul High School in 1947, and later worked as a purchasing manager at Ecolab, a job he had for over 30 years.

Hanson’s daughter, Missy Hamre, said that one city project that was especially close to Hanson’s heart was the creation of the Oakdale Nature Preserve. She added that her father fought hard to keep the land undeveloped, something that became a point of pride for him. “He was very proud to do that work for the community and fight for the community, and he took great pride in that [mayoral] job and worked very hard at it,” Hamre said.

Hanson is survived by Arlita, his loving wife of 66 years; their children Brad (Mary) and Missy (Mark) Hamre; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.