PINE ISLAND, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The Pine Island City Council surprised its city administrator Tuesday evening by terminating his contract and eliminating his job on the city payroll.
The action was not on the agenda, and it was a 3-2 vote. The council members voting to fire the city's top employee -- Randy Bates, Eric Diskerud and Nick Novak -- were all elected to office in November.
Mayor Rod Steele said eliminating the city administrator position will save Pine Island about $400-thousand over the next five years.
City Administrator Abraham Algadi declined to comment about what happened. Algadi has been at the forefront of a campaign championed by the City Council to create a bio-technology park called Elk Run that could theoretically house bio-tech businesses that would want to be near Mayo Clinic or IBM.
So far the bio-business park hasn't "taken off" but MnDOT did build an interchange at U.S. 52 over the past two years to create access to the project area. The slow pace of development at Elk Run may have been an undercurrent in Pine Island.
"There's no dissatisfaction (at City Hall) on Elk Run," said Mayor Steele. "I believe the City Council is still pro-Elk Run. He was out front, meeting and greeting people, but the town didn't comprehend it that well, and he took the blame."
The mayor thinks the cost savings from eliminating the city administrator's position will help Pine Island fund needed improvements to the municipal library and the town's swimming pool.
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