The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 11, 2013

North Mankato’s new administrator to get more than Sande

NORTH MANKATO — Prospective new North Mankato City Administrator John Harrenstein will receive paychecks totaling more than $116,000 a year — $3,601 more annually than former City Administrator Wendell Sande received prior to his May retirement — under a contract the City Council will be asked to approve Monday.

Harrenstein and North Mankato Mayor Mark Dehen negotiated the contract after the council unanimously decided on Dec. 20 to offer the city’s top appointed position to the Eudora, Kan., city administrator. Dehen said the city’s personnel committee has signed off on the agreement and he expects the council to approve it at a special meeting called for 12:30 p.m. Monday.

“I think they’ll be comfortable with it,” Dehen said. “He was their unanimous pick.”

 The salary range for the city administrator position in North Mankato is $77,124 to $114,660. Harrenstein’s contract fits within that because his base salary would be $112,000, although his paychecks will also include cash allowances for a car ($3,600 a year) and a cell phone ($780 annually) — bringing the total payments to $116,380.

Sande’s final base salary was just under $108,000 plus a car allowance of $4,800. There was no cell phone allowance in his contract.

Harrenstein has much less experience than his predecessor. He was just 27 years old when hired at a $78,000 salary as Eudora’s CEO in September of 2009. The post in the Kansas town of 6,200 was his first as a city administrator. Sande had been city administrator in North Mankato for 16 years and was the city’s finance director for 15 years prior to that.

But Dehen said Harrenstein’s proposed contract isn’t out of line with comparable Minnesota cities.

“It’s competitive with the area and with the other 28 similar-sized cities in the state,” he said.

Pat Hentges, who has been Mankato’s city manager since 1996, is currently receiving a base salary of just less than $144,000 in a city with triple North Mankato’s population.

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