Rochester begins search for new city manager

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 11, 2022

 Blaine Wing

Blaine Wing

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ROCHESTER — Former Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing has resigned from his position.

A separation agreement, signed by Wing on April 29, states that his resignation is effective May 4. The agreement was unanimously approved by the Rochester City Council during its May 9 meeting.

“I want to thank Blaine for his years of service to the city, and we wish him well,” Mayor Stuart Bikson said during the meeting.

As part of the agreement, Wing will receive his salary and insurance for up to six months, or until he secures employment, whichever comes first, according to what Bikson called “a generous” separation agreement.

In exchange, the city receives “full releases of claims of any kind that Wing may have against the city,” according to a memo from City Attorney Jeffrey Kragt.

In an email, Wing said the overall reason for his leaving was that it was “mutually agreed to be a good time.”

“From my perspective, some considerations include that the city has some upcoming vacancies and it would be good to have new leadership select the best people to fill those positions, the city had just completed several projects, such as finalizing a balanced city budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and finally my family’s difficulties finding childcare for my infant son,” he said in an email.

Wing, who served as the city manager for just shy of seven years, said in an email that it has been “an honor to serve the residents of Rochester.”

“I’m very proud of the work that the Rochester Council Council approved and our employees, engineers, consultants, contractors, and volunteers have executed,” he said, naming millions of dollars in infrastructure work for water, sewer, roads, sidewalks, lights, storm drainage and more. He also noted the move to a hybrid Fire Department from an all-volunteer one in order to provide improved services. He also noted the city’s AAA bond rating, new master plan, and more.

“Oh, and finally, I want to especially thank Rochester’s employees and the DDA, who really stepped up during the pandemic. Your work and efforts ensure Rochester’s bright future,” Wing said in the email.

Until a permanent successor is found, the Rochester City Council unanimously appointed Deputy City Manager Nik Banda as the interim city manager.

“My retirement has been postponed,” said Banda. “I love the city, and I will do whatever I’ve gotta do.”

Bikson said the city is in great shape with Banda, who has 40 years of experience in city government, serving until a successor is found.

“We also have a strong group of staff with our department heads and workers. We have a very strong City Council, so I believe we will move this city forward and we will not miss a beat,” he said. “I have been through a couple of these transitions, and the staff is still here and the staff has stepped up and done a tremendous job. So our goal, as a council, is to make sure the city continues to run as efficiently and effectively (as possible) as we start our search for a new city manager.”

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