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Fairview manager submits resignation

City Administrator Samantha Nelson has become the third high-profile member of the Fairview city government to resign within the last month.

Nelson publicly announced her resignation Wednesday afternoon, May 27, on the heels of departures by city councilors Ted Kotsakis and Steve Owen.

Kotsakis and Owen left the council citing a loss of faith in the direction of the local government.

Nelson has worked as the city administrator since 2008, and said she was presented with an opportunity she couldn’t resist.

“I’ve been offered a new opportunity to kind of pursue a dream of mine to work with a school district,” Nelson said shortly after she announced her impending departure Wednesday, May 25.

Nelson will leave Fairview June 30 for the Gladstone School District as the director of finance and operations.

“Back when I got my undergraduate degree, many, many moons ago, I always intended to go back and get my teaching certificate. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I could teach my stuffed animals, but life took a different direction,” she said. “I’ve always loved accounting and finance.”

With her contract up for renewal in September, Nelson said if she wanted to pursue other opportunities, now would be the time to do so, adding it’s happenstance that her resignation follows those of two city councilors.

“If I was looking to do anything different, this is kind of the time when I would look at that,” she said. “I think that — more than anything — is kind of what led to this. It’s a really hard choice to decide to leave. But I’m really excited based on the opportunity and the new challenges this new position will provide.”

It will be up to the Fairview City Council to sort out her replacement.

“(The councilors) have a lot of different options on the table,” Nelson said. “They can choose to appoint an interim city administrator. It can be one of the existing (city) directors or they can contract out with a retired city manager,” she said. “Then they’ll choose what process they want to go through for soliciting applications.”

Mayor Ted Tosterud said the council likely will discuss the appointment process for Nelson’s position at the June 3 council work session.

“I have enjoyed working with Samantha these past 14 months,” Tosterud said. “She has been my right hand and her support and understanding has helped me grow into my new position as mayor.

“Her job knowledge and contributions to the city have been invaluable. She is an excellent city administrator who always promotes fairness and team work. I want to thank her for her hard work and being a friendly colleague and manager whose warmth, humor and professionalism continually brighten City Hall. I will miss her and wish her success in her new challenges,” Tosterud added.

Despite the existing City Council vacancies, Nelson said she is confident her replacement will be easy to find.

“Fairview is a really great community. It has a lot going for it. Like any community, I think there are challenges,” she said. “Fairview has so much to offer somebody. My hope is the council can recognize the value of the directors they have. I don’t think they will have any issue at all.”

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