Chuck Barney will be sworn in as Minot's new mayor tonight. He has much work ahead of him, and his honeymoon will be short-lived.
When Barney takes office tonight, consider the void in city leadership he will inherit:
- Minot has no official city attorney, and the city faces several allegations stemming from the abrupt dismissal of Colleen Auer, who held the position of city attorney for less than a month.
- Minot has an interim city manager, with city finance director Cindy Hemphill temporarily in the position until a search committee can find candidates and conduct interviews to replace the retired David Waind. You'll recall that Hemphill was offered the city manager job and turned it down following the city's initial search for Waind's replacement.
- The position of president of the Minot Area Development Corporation remains open following the resignation of Jerry Chavez. The position of executive director of Visit Minot is open, following Wendy Howe's resignation earlier this month. Filling those jobs is the responsibility of those respective entities, but the mayor's job is certainly impacted by the vacancies.
Perhaps it's simply unfortunate timing that all these key positions are open at the same time, but it surely will make things more difficult as Barney and the city move forward. We trust those positions will be filled as soon as possible. But those leadership positions play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the city itself, and having empty chairs certainly does not present the image of a unified city working together to solve the challenges that Minot continues to face.