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Posted on January 22, 2021 at 9:45 AM by Bryan Obenchain
There is a wide variety of roles and jobs in a municipal operation like the City of Minot, and every position is important to the overall success of our organization.
Good employees are the backbone of any successful company or organization, and that is certainly true at the City of Minot. Our departments are full of dedicated, hard-working employees who take their service to the community seriously. They are your friends, your neighbors, and your family members, and they all play key roles in our organization and our community, no matter which job they do.
Harold Stewart’s role as City Manager is wide-ranging and encompasses great variations in job duties and responsibilities. Harold began his job as City Manager in late 2020; he was unanimously supported by the City Council after a nationwide search narrowed the list to semifinalists, and then three finalists were interviewed separately by the Council and a panel of City department heads and community members.
First and foremost, the City Manager is the leader of the 400-plus employees at the City of Minot. He oversees several department heads, and is ultimately responsible for the day-to-day operations at the City. While the City Manager isn’t required to be an expert on everything that happens at the City – like flood control, sanitation collection, or financial software – the position does demand the ability to be knowledgeable about these subject when necessary. It also requires the ability to recognize who the experts are in each City department, and to confidently rely on their judgment and experience.
The City Manager represents the City when partnering with other local entities, like Ward County, Minot Air Force Base, the Minot Park District, Minot Public Schools, or Minot State University. Those relationships are vital to not only the future of the City, but of the entire community. The City routinely collaborates with Ward County, MSU, Minot AFB, the Park District, and the school districts on projects and issues that are of community wide importance, despite all these organizations being separate entities. Leaders of all these groups must work together to balance what’s best for their individual organizations while keeping the future progress of the entire community in mind.
In addition, when the City works with local legislators on issues of core importance to the City of Minot and its residents, it is the City Manager that often takes a leadership role in those efforts. That portion of Harold’s job will be at the forefront in the coming months, as the North Dakota Legislature conducts its business. There are many issues to be debated at this year’s Legislature, none more important than funding for future flood control phases. Though he is new to Minot, Harold recognizes the importance of our flood control project and the important role the City Manager plays in promoting and supporting the project. On this key issue, the City Manager is supported by the City Council, the employees at the City of Minot, and the residents of the entire community as we forge ahead on the largest infrastructure project ever designed, funded, and constructed in Minot.
The City Manager also plays a vital role in the function of the City Council, acting as a liaison between the council members, City staff, local agencies, and members of the public. As the go-between for many diverse interests, the City Manager is a key figure in the Council’s inner workings. This aspect of the position requires a keen ear to listen to all concerns, a discerning eye to recognize potential problems, and a clear vision to help guide the organization into the future.
Of course, these aren’t all of the duties of the City Manager. In reality, there are many responsibilities you won’t find written down anywhere, yet they fall to the City Manager. It’s simply part of the job. With his extensive background in public service, Harold fully understands his role as our City Manager. We’re glad he joined us in Minot, and as time goes on, we hope members of the community embrace the opportunities to meet Harold. You’ll find his enthusiasm and willingness to listen and learn about his new community encouraging.
Welcome, Harold. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
Sincerely, City Hall.
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.
Posted on January 11, 2021 at 10:18 AM by Bryan Obenchain
At the City of Minot, we’re preparing for the State of the City event, with the fourth annual event scheduled for the evening of Feb. 2.
As usual, the preparation has been under way for the past few months, but this year’s event will be noticeably different. Certainly this is due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying guidelines for social distancing. Unlike the three previous years, the 2021 State of the City will be presented virtually through various social media platforms. We’ll share more details in the coming weeks.
While the format has changed, the focus of the event remains the same: To update the community on what’s happening at the City of Minot, and to present a vision for where our organization and our City are headed in 2021.
Despite the pandemic disrupting life in our community this past year, there were many success stories for the City of Minot in 2020. Work on flood control is making steady and visible progress, with phases 1, 2, and 3 substantially completed. We welcomed good news about Phase 4, also known as the Maple Diversion, which is now eligible for federal funding, although much work remains to secure funding for the approximately $90 million project that will help protect many residents in the river valley.
The Northwest Area Water Supply project became closer to reality in 2020, with the design under way on a water treatment facility to be built near Max and the continuation of a project to expand the size and capacity of the Minot Water Treatment Plant. There were several major construction projects completed this past year, notably the reconstruction of 31st Avenue SE that included the city’s first roundabout, rebuilding a key section of 10th Street SW, and opening a new intersection on the north side of the 3rd Street NE bridge, to name a few.
As we bid farewell to 2020, we’ll also use the State of the City to discuss where we’re headed as an organization and as a community. The ongoing pandemic will no doubt play a role in what 2021 looks like, with lingering effects on businesses, individuals, and the local economy. What effects will the pandemic continue to have on local sales taxes? How does any decline in sales taxes affect the soon-to-begin process of crafting the City’s 2022 budget? Will 2021 be the year we move closer to implementing a curbside recycling program? What major construction projects do we expect to be completed this year? We’ll discuss those topics, and many more, during the event on Feb. 2.
As part of this year’s State of the City, we’re conducting a search for the Citizen of the Year based on video submissions for members of the community – and there’s still time to enter the contest after the deadline was extended to Jan. 15.
Everyone has a story to tell, and our community is full of people who do amazing things every day. If there’s someone you feel has gone out of their way this past year to make Minot a better community, this is a great opportunity to recognize them in a very public fashion. It could be someone who helps make the entire community better, or someone who is simply a good neighbor. Either way, we want to see and hear their story, and we want to share their impact on Minot and its residents.
The winning video will be part of the State of the City event. The subject of the winning video will receive $1,000 courtesy of First International Bank & Trust to donate to their favorite Minot charity. The video creator will win $100 in Minot Chamber of Commerce bucks courtesy of Farmers Union Insurance. Videos should be between 1 minute and five minutes in length. Videos can be submitted to the City of Minot via a link on the City’s website at minotnd.org/mayorschallenge.
We’re looking forward to a great event on Feb. 2, although we’d much rather be conducting the State of the City before a live audience as usual. Still, it’s perhaps more important than ever that we share the City’s success stories from 2020, and discuss what we see on the horizon for our community in 2021. Please join us on Feb. 2.
Posted on December 22, 2020 at 3:44 PM by Bryan Obenchain
The holiday season is often a time of personal reflection, an opportunity to remind ourselves of the good things in our lives. It’s also a perfect time to remember the amazing acts of kindness and generosity that make Minot such a wonderful place to live.
We see examples of the best of our community every day, but perhaps even more so during the holidays. It’s further proof that our sense of pride and responsibility cannot be diminished, even by something as serious as a global pandemic. In fact, tough times often bring out the best in Minot and its residents, and our city’s history bears witness to that fact. These traditions are permanently entwined into the fabric of our community. These traditions, year after year, showcase who we are as a community. And there are examples everywhere.
A local restaurant in December served free meals to health care workers in recognition of the heroic efforts of everyone in the health care industry not only this year, but every year. A host of other businesses, organizations, and individuals recognized health care employees this year, too, by providing food, gifts, prayers, and emotional support.
The Souris Valley United Way recently put out a call to individuals and its community partners when it needed assistance to help other local agencies fill their holiday needs. The response was overwhelming, as expected, and the influx of gifts and funds will help make Christmas a happier time for many local families.
Individuals and businesses continue to provide meals and other items for the Men’s Winter Refuge, which offers a safe place for men in need during the coldest months of the year. The often-homemade meals are a welcome gift to those utilizing the shelter and those who manage the facility.
We see this over and over: Someone on social media offers free diapers or clothing or other necessities to any family that needs them, and then the cause morphs into a long list of other people contributing more and more items, helping more and more families in our community.
Every year, partnerships with individuals, businesses, and government agencies help bring the Minot Sertoma Club’s Christmas in the Park light display to life. The event is always popular, and the funds raised are contributed to a multitude of local organizations. This year, Christmas in the Park offers a perfect socially distant way to enjoy the holidays with your family.
At the City of Minot, we see our community’s goodness every year when goodies and other items are dropped off at our Police Department, Fire Department, and other offices of our organization. On behalf of all City of Minot employees, I want to thank everyone for their generosity. I can assure you that these gestures are greatly appreciated, and they are a welcome reminder that our community recognizes and supports the work done by our employees.
These are only a handful of examples of the goodness that lives and breathes in Minot. We all see it every day, and not just during the holidays. This time of the year is an opportunity to remind ourselves that the organizations helping the vulnerable populations in our community need our help all year long – and to thank everyone for their already strong support of these local agencies.
Sometimes, though, the small gestures of support can go unnoticed or unrecognized, but they are vital to the ongoing growth and resiliency of our community. We all have a basic responsibility to help our fellow residents when we can. It’s called being a good neighbor, even when those you’re helping might be complete strangers. For everyone who has donated their time, talents, or treasure to help their fellow Minot residents, I say thank you. You are what makes Minot the amazing city that it is.
If there’s someone you think has made a significant contribution to our community, I’d invite you to nominate them through the Mayor’s Citizen of the Year video contest. The winner of this award will be announced at the virtual State of the City on Feb. 2. Videos should be between 1 minute and five minutes in length. Submissions are due by Jan. 15. Videos can be submitted to the City of Minot via a link on the City’s website at minotnd.org/mayorschallenge. Let’s recognize those citizens who continue to make our community a better place to live, work, and play.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at the City of Minot.