Whitman plans April retirement

Flandreau City Administrator Don Whitman plans to retire in April after six years in Flandreau, a job that he says has been so good that it is hard to leave.

Whitman met with council members last week, and his letter stating his intent to retire at the end of April will be on the agenda for approval at the Jan. 15 meeting.

“I think from my perspective in doing this, the Flandreau City Council has been very progressive. They have done a lot of projects in this city since I’ve been here,” he said. The council has worked hard at improving and updating infrastructure in Flandreau with several projects completed in recent years, he said.

“Everything that we’ve done here is for the betterment of the community, and this council sees that. They’ve been an excellent mayor and council. It really has been one of the best places I’ve ever worked.”

Whitman said he and his wife, Amy, plan to stay in Flandreau for now, would like to travel some and eventually, may move closer to their only daughter in Kansas.

He said the timing is right to retire at a point when he will be 63.

“We have our health, and we have the ability to do it, and the timing is perfect for us,” he said.

Council President Dan Sutton said the city has a job description and will advertise locally, statewide and nationally for his replacement.

Duties are broad and include economic development, administration, finance, utilities and more, with preference given to someone with a master’s degree, he said.

Last time the city hired for the position, it took eight months to find the right person, Sutton said. The council plans to have applications due in February but would be able to re-open the process if it doesn’t get the candidates it is looking for by that time. Whitman gave the city four months lead time to try and find his replacement, and that is appreciated, Sutton said.

Whitman has provided good leadership at a time when many projects were being completed in Flandreau, Sutton said.

“Overall, the council has been pleased with his performance,” he said. “I think it took us by surprise that he was retiring.”

Whitman started in the Flandreau city administrator position in April 2012 after serving in a similar job in Caney, Kan., for eight years. He has worked for 40 years toward the administration job he has held here, working in communities all over the country, he said.

In other city news:

  • The Rev. David Lillibridge of the Big Sioux Baptist Church was appointed to the planning and zoning board, filling a vacancy left by Brad Olinger’s resignation when he moved to Brookings.
  • The pay for the newest Flandreau police officer, Robert Neuenfeldt, was set at $18.95 an hour. Neuenfeldt was the acting Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe police chief and fills an opening created when police officer Lisa Pelton took a position as school resource officer in Flandreau. She started her new job last week.

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