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News: Blaine

Posted on: June 12, 2019

City of Blaine Announces City Manager Finalists

City Manager Search Cover Photo

The City of Blaine has narrowed the search for the next Blaine City Manager to five highly qualified candidates following the upcoming retirement of current City Manager Clark Arneson later this summer. 

The city selected Strategic Government Resources (SGR) to assist in conducting the extensive search that resulted in an impressive candidate pool. SGR is an executive recruitment firm based in Keller, Texas, specializing in recruiting, assessing, and developing innovative, collaborative, and authentic leaders for local governments. SGR’s proprietary recruitment and vetting process produced a strong field of candidates comprised of 38 applications from candidates in 12 states and two countries. The five finalists have been invited to participate in the on-site interview process scheduled for June 24 and 25. The two day interview process will involve community tours, candidate sessions with senior staff, a community panel, and a public meet and greet on the first day. On day two candidates will interview with the Mayor and City Council. The finalists will also undergo additional vetting including a media search, and a rigorous background investigation. 

Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan stated, “I am extremely pleased with how the search is progressing and with the quality of the candidates that have applied for the Blaine City Manager position. The recruitment has generated an exceptional number of quality candidates, and the City Council looks forward to learning more about our five finalists during the on-site interview process. I encourage the public to attend the meet and greet reception scheduled for Monday, June 24 from 5:30 to 7:30PM at Blaine City Hall in the atrium as part of the selection process to provide community members the opportunity to meet and engage with the finalists.” 

Finalists Biographies: 

Barbara Sporlein photoBarbara (Barb) Sporlein has more than 20 years of experience in state and local government and most recently served as Deputy Commissioner for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency with the State of Minnesota in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

She previously served as Director of Planning with the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 2004 to 2011. Prior to joining the City of Minneapolis, she served as Deputy Executive Director for the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency in Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1998 to 2004.

Barb holds a master’s degree in planning from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 




Bruce MesseltBruce Messelt photo has over 20 years of local government experience and currently serves as County Administrator for Chisago County, Minnesota. He previously served as City Administrator with the City of Lake Elmo, Minnesota, from 2009 to 2011.

Before that, he served as President of Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo, North Dakota, from 2007 to 2009; City Manager with the City of Moorhead, Minnesota, from 2002 to 2007; and Assistant to the City Manager with the City of Tucson, Arizona, from 1996 to 2002.

Bruce holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Concordia College. 




Jason Ziemer photoJason Ziemer has over 12 years of local government experience and currently serves as City Planner/Community Development Coordinator for the City of Rogers, Minnesota. He previously served as City Manager for the City of North St. Paul, Minnesota, from 2013 to 2017.

Prior to that, he was City Administrator for the City of Maple Plain, Minnesota, from 2007 to 2013. Jason holds a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in management from Hamline University.

He also holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of North Dakota and is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute. 




Michelle Wolfe photoMichelle Wolfe has more than 26 years of local government experience and currently serves as Deputy City Manager for the City of Aurora, Colorado. She previously served as City Administrator for the City of Arden Hills, Minnesota, from 2003 to 2007.

Prior to that, she served as Assistant City Manager for the City of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, from 1996 to 2003, and before that, she was Human Resources Manager for the City of Naperville Illinois, from 1992 to 1996.

Michelle holds a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in public administration and political science from Saint Mary’s College. 




Nathan Burkett photoNathan (Nate) Burkett has more than 13 years of local government experience and currently serves as Assistant City Administrator for the City of Shakopee, Minnesota. He previously served as County Administrator for Aitkin County, Minnesota, from 2014 to 2016.

Before that, he was a Performance Management Consultant with The Khanna Group in Edina, Minnesota, from 2013 to 2014; County Administrator for Todd County, Minnesota, from 2008 to 2012; and Consultant/Project Manager for Maximus, Inc., from 2006 to 2008.

Nate holds a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Saint Cloud State University. He is also an ICMA Credentialed Manager.


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