Director of Parks and Recreation submits resignation

Selness

Marshalltown’s Parks and Rec director resigned to take another position out of state, effective Aug. 3.

Annemarie Selness’ resignation coincided with her being offered the Spring Grove, Minn. city administrator position. On July 24 the Spring Grove city council agreed Selness was a ‘pretty clear’ choice, the Bluff Country Reader reported.

The job offer was preceded by an interview in Spring Grove

July 23 at a special meeting of the Spring Grove city council. Posted online city council meeting minutes reported Selness being interviewed in the Minnesota community. Two other candidates were also interviewed.

The community’s population is 1,296, according to 2016 figures.

Her salary “will be $52,000 a year. She verbally accepted the position and will be made a formal offer in writing,” the Bluff Country Reader reported. Selness’ Marshalltown salary as of Aug. 3, was $90,729.60, according to city Human Resource Director Jill Petermeier.

Before coming to Marshalltown, Selness had gained much of her professional experience working in southern Minnesota and she has a current address listed in Caledonia, Minn.

Time in Marshalltown

Her resignation and departure was met with surprise from Councilor At-Large Leon Lamer.

“I learned of (her resignation) in a recent email,” he said. “And I was surprised. I thought she did a great job.”

Veteran Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Member Matt Tullis of Marshalltown was also surprised.

“Her taking a different job kind of shocked me,” Tullis said.

“I was impressed with her skill. I believed she did a lot of good things in the short time she was here, including the Park and Rec Master Plan, and work beginning with the (Veterans Memorial) Coliseum renovation.”

Selness, whose tenure spanned nearly two years and four months, also earned public praise at city council meetings on numerous occasions from Mayor Joel Greer and several councilors.

Among other successes, Selness and the department were credited with making significant improvements to MEGA-10 Park on Sixth Avenue.

Shortly after being hired by former City Administrator Randy Wetmore in April 2016, Selness said some of her goals were to increase attendance and programs at the aquatic center, increase partnership opportunities with area health centers, schools and businesses, finalize and promote the new recreational trail, ensure community recreational programs are affordable and accessible to all, and develop a three year plan of action to provide sports, recreation and facilities to meet the current and future needs of the community.

The search for a new director comes amid many city officials focusing on tornado cleanup efforts. City Administrator Jessica Kinser said “there was no timeline” to fill the position at this time.

Selness was out of the office and unavailable to respond to interview requests. Telephone calls to Parks and Recreation board members Kim Barnes and Ana Garza were not returned by press time.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com