Manager’s resignation presents challenge to Minot

After a week or so of rumors around town, it was still a slight surprise when City Manager Lee Staab announced Tuesday evening that he would be moving on from the city later this summer. One could not avoid hoping the rumors were just that, and that Staab would remain in his position. Instead, the manager has announced he is leaving for personal reasons, effective Aug. 30.

Staab has served the city with a high degree of professionalism and has helped direct the city forward in a number of ways, from economic development to flood prevention. He is clearly a capable manager and brought a degree of professionalism to city hall that was very, very much needed. While he can hopefully guide some current initiatives further along before he leaves, his departure will nevertheless leave a significant void in city government and overall civic leadership.

Replacing Staab will not be easy. However we might as individuals feel about Minot, it is not a glamorous destination for professional managers. Furthermore, the economic downturn complicates matters. Helping guide a redeveloping city when revenue is rolling in from an economic boom is considerably more interesting than guiding that same city in a downturn. Timing will be a problem this time around.

While difficult, it is hugely important to find the right replacement. Minot is at a critical point in its history, with challenges and opportunities, with a new structure for city government, and in times when huge national issues such as energy self-sufficiency, federal regulations and alternative energy all have significant impact here.

Hopefully the city will have uncommon good luck and identify a potential new manager of quality and integrity eager to help build on what is happening in Minot. It isn’t going to be easy; indeed, it will be a challenge. But it is essential and the most important challenge the city faces in the next several months.