Ahead of a July 6 vote on a contract for St. Louis Park’s incoming city manager, the successful candidate spoke about her family’s poignant connections to the city.
Kimberly Keller, who will lead St. Louis Park after a long career in Minneapolis, had mentioned that she had family who lived in St. Louis Park but said she had not revealed previously that the namesake of a St. Louis Park ballfield had been her brother-in-law.
Derrick Keller had been undergoing treatment for leukemia when his condition suddenly worsened, leading to his death in 2011.
“He is playing shortstop in a double header right now,” his family wrote on CaringBridge following his death.
St. Louis Park later dedicated Derrick Keller Field at Dakota Park in his honor.
Kimberly Keller said, “Derrick was an amazing ballplayer and human being who loved growing up in St. Louis Park and was deeply tied to the community and felt so supported here. And you, the St. Louis Park community, honored him by dedicating a field that was both his greatest passion and a symbol of his childhood, and you cannot know what that meant to me and my family. So, I am so honored to be of service to this community that shows up and takes care of one another.”
Kimberly Keller pointed out her experience in leadership in local government. She is the director of regulatory services for the city of Minneapolis and has served as operations director, results management program coordinator, business process and data analyst, and assistant to the director of regulatory services in Minneapolis. She began work as a policy aide in Minneapolis in 2006.
“As a leader, I make commitments every day,” she said. “Among them, I commit to listening for understanding, to operating with integrity, and just showing up every day to make life a little bit better for those around me. I would do this for any community, but I feel a special pull for St. Louis Park.”
She also praised St. Louis Park for its commitment to sustainability, race equity, youth engagement and employee wellbeing.
“I am excited to utilize and to grow my skills and experiences, to support and lead on our collective arc toward equity,” she said.
Kimberly Keller will replace City Manager Tom Harmening, who will retire Aug. 1. She will take over management of the city Aug. 16. St. Louis Park Operations & Recreation Director Cindy Walsh, who is currently serving as the interim deputy city manager, will serve as the interim city manager in the first half of August.
The employment agreement the council approved provides a salary of $180,000 per year along with a $500 monthly automobile allowance. The contract provides 33 days of vacation per year initially, along with 80 hours of leave time considered to be accrued at the beginning of the contract.
An initial performance review is planned six months into employment, and the city agreed to consider an increase in compensation depending on the results. After the first year, performance will be evaluated annually.
If the city terminates employment while the city manager is willing and able to perform the duties, the city agrees to pay a lump sum equal to six months of salary and to provide benefits for an additional six months. The city manager would not be eligible for the termination benefits if fired due to malfeasance in office, gross misconduct, conviction of a felony or conviction for an illegal act involving personal gain, the contract states.
The city manager agrees to give 30 days notice if resigning voluntarily, with no termination pay due in that circumstance.
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