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New city administrator to start in October

Come this fall, Rochester will have a new city administrator.

The city council on Monday formally approved a deal with Steve Rymer to become just the fourth administrator in city history. Rymer's starting salary will be $167,978  — the maximum allowed under state law. His scheduled start date is Oct. 12.

Rymer comes to Rochester from Morgan Hill, Calif., where he has served as the city manager since 2013. A Minnesota native, Rymer previously worked as parks director for New Brighton, Minn. He was hired following a nationwide search led by Springsted/Waters Executive Recruitment.

During Monday's meeting, council member Ed Hruska commended the often-divided council's ability to work together and reach a consensus on its next administrator. 

“This is about the best outcome we could have wished for," Hruska said, echoing comments made by other councilors.

Reached by phone, Rymer said Rochester represents both an opportunity to move back closer to family, as well as a chance to get involved in a unique exercise of community building. 

"As I went through the [interview] process, the professional opportunity is even greater than I thought it was," said Rymer. "It's an exciting time in Rochester, and to be part of that is going to be pretty fun for years to come."

Rymer will be tasked with helping guide the city through a time of significant transformation. Destination Medical Center is already off the ground and running, and issues related to transportation, housing and sustainability — among others — are beginning to become major focal points for city government. 

"It's going to take a lot of time for me to learn about the historical parts, as well as where we're heading into the vision," he said. "As time goes on, I'll become a little more knowledgeable and will share my thoughts on how we can continue to advance the vision."

Rymer will take over for former administrator Stevan Kvenvold, who retired this spring after nearly four decades on the job. The position is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of city government and recommending the annual budget. 

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