By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
A Pierz area native was hired to become the new Pierz deputy clerk.
Nicole O’Hotto grew up near Harding, the daughter of Rod and Deanna O’Hotto.
She is looking forward to returning to her roots in the Pierz area.
After graduating from Pierz Healy High School in 2006, O’Hotto attended St. Cloud State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in mass communications with an emphasis in public relations.
“I have a background of dealing with nonprofits,” said O’Hotto, who has worked for Catholic Charities and United Way Central Minnesota. “I like the opportunity of coming back to Pierz and helping out the city, giving some of my experience to the city of Pierz.”
More than 20 people applied for the position. Nine were interviewed and O’Hotto was chosen after the second round of interviews.
“We had a strong applicant pool,” said Council Member Matt Bell, who along with Mayor Toby Egan and Treasurer Linda Sczublewski, conducted the interviews.
“I’m very confident in our choice,” said Bell, adding that O’Hotto was very smart and would be an asset to the city.
New City Administrator Scott Saehr knows O’Hotto as the two graduated together.
“With her background and experience, and her just having grown up in Pierz and having her base and family from Pierz, we are very confident in that she will be very well-suited for the position as deputy clerk,” he said. “We’re excited to get her on board.”
Saehr said her background in marketing will be valuable in helping the city grow.
“Her background and experience really suited the position,” said Saehr. “When you do marketing with a nonprofit organization such as United Way, I know the amount of work that goes into that and the amount of communication skill that goes into that.”
O’Hotto said Mayor Toby Egan, Bell and Sczublewski were “really friendly.”
“I think I’ll enjoy working with all of them,” she said. “I’m familiar with a lot of the people I’ll be working with and the people I’ll come across. That will be exciting to be able to come back to Pierz and work for the city.”
O’Hotto, who currently lives in St. Cloud, will begin her duties Wednesday, after concluding her duties at Bank Vista in Sartell.
The Council approved her starting wage at $14.25 per hour, with an average of 32 – 40 hours per week. The now full-time position also includes an $850 per month insurance stipend, five vacation days, 12 sick days and enrollment in the Public Employee Retirement Association.
Bell noted a six-month probationary period is in place.
Pierz City Council Briefs
In other business Monday, the Pierz City Council:
• Approved the city’s audit as presented by representatives from Schlenner Wenner & Co.;
• Told Tony and Jean Sauer that the city would continue to research the easement in the alley behind their home. Evidently it was sold for between $1 – $500 to another property owner when an adjacent piece of property was sold and the buyer didn’t want the easement. It was noted the city never considered that property an alley, just an easement, and did no maintenance on it. The Sauers said they and neighbors were having issues with selling their homes because of the agreement and that they would like to purchase easements in the city as well;
• Accepted Jeff Riley’s resignation from the Pierz Fire Department;
• Approved working with the Pierz American Legion Post 341 in finding a place for a veterans memorial. The Council suggested Billig Park might be a good place;
• Council Members Matt Bell and Stephanie Fyten voted for the city to make its annual contribution to the Pierz Fire Relief Association based on $350 for each of 26 members, for a total of $9,100. Council Members Mike Menden and Don Bujalski abstained, since they are members of the Fire Department and Mayor Toby Egan was absent;
• Heard Public Works Director Bob Otremba report that now that the snow has tapered off, most of the city’s storm sewers have been opened; and
• Heard Police Chief Eric Hanneken report he would again start leading healthy living classes at Holy Trinity School. Hanneken also noted that 8.6 pounds of narcotics and 14 pounds of garbage were removed from the drug collection container at City Hall.
The next regular Pierz City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 24, at 7 p.m.