Moorhead names acting city manager, may stick to internal search

Dan Mahli - headshot vertical.jpg
Dan Mahli

MOORHEAD — Moorhead Assistant City Manager Dan Mahli will be the acting city manager starting June 28.

The City Council unanimously made the appointment Monday night, June 8, to replace outgoing City Manager Chris Volkers, who has a new job in the Twin Cities suburb of Oakdale.

He assumes the duties on the day she leaves.

The council, however, didn't make a decision on whether to hire a St. Paul firm to do a regional or national search at a cost of about $23,000.

Mayor Johnathan Judd suggested the council do an internal search to save money during the financially stressful time of the coronavirus pandemic.


If the council couldn't agree on an internal candidate, they could open it up to outside candidates, he said.

The decision on an internal or external search was put off until the next meeting on June 22.

City Attorney John Shockley said he could present options to the council at that meeting and also look at some of the costs and labor laws involved.

Shockley said it was important to have an acting manager in place, though, so there can be a "continuity" in management.

Mahli, a native of the metro area, has been assistant city manager since October 2017.

Council members had varying views on whether to have an internal or external search, although they said they were willing to do the extra work and interviews.

Council member Steve Lindaas said if it was an internal search he would like to see members of the public serve on a hiring committee with a diverse makeup.

Also brought up was whether the council should hire an interim manager from the outside during the search as has been done in the past.


Council member Heidi Durand thought if Mahli was put into the interim job it could influence a committee's decision to hire him for the permanent job.

So it was decided to also delay the decision until the next meeting on whether to hire an interim manager before a final choice is made.

Volkers, a North St. Paul native, accepted a job in the eastern St. Paul suburb of Oakdale, which is in the same county as her childhood home.

She said earlier she would be able to be with her two sons and husband together there as her oldest son, who was recently married, lives in the suburb of Prior Lake and her youngest son will be going to the University of Minnesota this fall.

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