City Administrator Tony Chladek told Crookston City Council members at a Ways & Means Committee Monday evening that he hopes to know by week's end whether or not Phillip Barton will be the city's new information technology director.
Barton, the son of longtime Crookston residents Larry and Claudia Barton, who have retired and moved to California, has tentatively accepted the offer to succeed Tom Lindo as the City of Crookston's IT director. But he has another job interview this week and would like to know how that potential opportunity pans out before officially accepting the position.
"He lives here and he has a young family and a lot of friends and connections here," Chladek said. "Maybe he'll have a decision to make, or maybe he won't."
The committee unanimously approved an annual starting salary for Barton, if he takes the job, of $50,000. The salary window when the city advertised the position was $45,000 to $58,000. Language in the employment agreement with Barton would have him making $58,000 by 2015, assuming he receives favorable evaluations along the way.
"Two years down the road we'll try to get him to the full range," Chladek said.
Council member Keith Mykleseth, who stood in as vice mayor in Mayor Dave Genereux's absence Monday, sat on the interview panel and said everyone agreed that Barton was the best of the three applicants interviewed. He also said the panel felt it was important to start Barton near the middle of the salary range and give him the opportunity to earn his way to the top of the range.
"You want to stress the importance of people working their way up, without losing good people because you start them too low," Mykleseth said. "This hopefully gives some incentive to want to come and then stick around."
"This shows that if somebody's good, especially in this field, there's more than one job opportunity," added council member Tom Jorgens.
If Barton turns down the job, Chladek said there are currently no plans to offer the job to one of the other two interviewees.
The position has been vacant since Lindo resigned and took a job with Altru Health System.