Our view: City administrator completes energetic first year

December 15, 2018

After a full year on the job, some things have become apparent about Rochester City Administrator Steve Rymer.

First off, he doesn’t like to stand still.

Rymer, who was hired after the retirement of longtime City Administrator Steve Kvenvold, has proposed and initiated several new developments, most of which have been favorably received.

The latest is his proposal to form one organization that will manage both Mayo Civic Center and the city’s convention and visitors bureau. That plan was approved by the City Council Monday, and while there are questions still to be answered, it appears the plan will be operational by this time next year.

Rymer has also launched a community development department within city government, addressing a need that public officials, builders and developers had expressed for several years.

In addition, Rymer added a communications manager to the city staff in an effort to get as much information about city government as possible out to the public.

In other words, it’s been a busy and hectic year for Rymer, who came to Rochester from a similar position in Morgan Hill, Calif. We think, though, he has read the lay of the land correctly. In a city growing and changing as quickly as Rochester is, Rymer recognized that there was little time to acclimate. Trying to keep up with the rapid development taking place in Rochester didn’t allow him that comfort.

It would appear the city is benefiting from the pair of fresh eyes Rymer has brought to the community. Just because something was always done a certain way doesn’t mean it should always be done that way. But rather than introduce change for the sake of change, Rymer has targeted what he sees as areas that need improvement.

Now, the challenge is to follow up this momentum with demonstrated results — and to not lose sight of the other major issues confronting the city. Affordable housing and workforce development top that list, and Rymer has to make sure they are always in the minds of city officials — even when it appears the city can do little to influence those issues.

We won’t offer a letter grade on Rymer’s first year as city administrator. That would be unfair, considering that some of his plans are still unfolding. We do like, however, his penchant for re-examining what’s been done in the past, and for making sure the city has the best practices in place moving forward.

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