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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • EDITORIAL: Kelly proves more and more that he’s a keeper

  • In the 2000 film, “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt, moments before FedEx systems analyst Chuck Noland, played by Hanks, boards his fateful flight bound for yet another work-related crisis, he hurriedly exchanges Christmas gifts with his girlfriend, Kelly Frears, portrayed by Hunt, while seated in their Jeep on an airport tarmac in Memphis, Tennessee.
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  • In the 2000 film, "Cast Away" starring Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt, moments before FedEx systems analyst Chuck Noland, played by Hanks, boards his fateful flight bound for yet another work-related crisis, he hurriedly exchanges Christmas gifts with his girlfriend, Kelly Frears, portrayed by Hunt, while seated in their Jeep on an airport tarmac in Memphis, Tennessee.
    Chuck opens an antique watch that Kelly says her grandfather wore while fighting in the war. Chuck is hugely impressed and moved, too, and immediately decides to set the watch to Memphis time and leave it at that time no matter where in the world his work travels take him, so he'll always know what time it is at home, where Kelly is. "Kelly time!" he says enthusiastically.
    That movie scene and, in particular, those two words uttered by Hanks crossed the mind the other day when City of Crookston Public Works Director Pat Kelly readily agreed to be the city's interim administrator until a replacement is found for the recently fired Tony Chladek.
    This has nothing to do with the time zone in Memphis or a movie character portrayed by Helen Hunt, but as more time passes it seems as though Kelly, who's been with the city for approximately 20 years, operates on "Kelly time" that's somehow different from the 24 hours that fill everyone else's day.
    Many years ago he ran the Public Works Department, which was essentially comprised of street-related things and sanitation services. The city-run Water Department at the time had its own superintendent.
    Then the Water Department superintendent position was filled through attrition, and Kelly's Public Works duties subsequently included everything having to do with water in the city, too.
    Well, except, that is, for Red Lake River water. Community Development Director Mike MacDonald for years was the river guy, the go-to person for flood-related issues and the authority over the many years it took to construct Crookston's new levee system.
    MacDonald's phasing into retirement, and guess who, when asked, said he'd manage Crookston's flood control system once MacDonald has officially ridden off into the sunset? Kelly, that's who.
    Oh, and, lest we forget, Kelly is struggling to fill a licensed wastewater operator position in his department, so, as the only person licensed to operate the specialized equipment, he's doing so until he's able to hire someone.
    And now, the typically polite and chatty Kelly has apparently and seamlessly taken over city administrator duties for, likely, the rest of 2013. At last week's city council and Ways & Means Committee meetings, an unknowing observer would have sworn that Kelly was the city's permanent administrator.
    Sure, he has two decades of knowledge of how the city goes about its business to go on, but, still, Kelly made it look easy.
    He'd be the first to say he's only able to wear the many hats he does because of his excellent staff, and that's probably right. But, still, Kelly, who's made it clear he doesn't desire the permanent administrator job and, therefore, won't be applying, is a person who should not be under-appreciated in this community.
    Page 2 of 2 - – Mike Christopherson

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