Northfield City Council Approves Public Works Director/City Engineer Hire

Northfield native Joseph Stapf brings three decades of experience in public works and utility engineering to the job. His appointment was approved on a 6-0 vote.

Northfield has its new public works director/city engineer.

The City Council approved the hiring of Northfield native—City Administrator Tim Madigan’s choice to take charge of the city departments—at its regular meeting Tuesday.

Stapf, who earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota, returns to the state after serving as director of environmental services for Hernando County, FL since last October.

“He comes to us with 30 years of experience in the public works field and utility engineering,” said Madigan. “He does bring a lot of background and experience.”

Councilors approved Stapf’s hiring on a 6-0 vote, with abstaining.

Zweifel said she decided not to vote because she knew little about Stapf and how he was selected from the pool of candidates.

“We haven’t been involved in the process, and yet we are being asked to sign off that Mr. Stapf is the best person for the job,” she said. “That part is what I’m wrestling with.”

questioned Madigan about the hiring process, particularly on whether candidates were brought up to speed on the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

Madigan responded, “Through the process, we did talk about a number of the council’s goal and priorities, things like the comp plan and green steps, so the candidates were familiar with Northfield.”

Greg Albrecht of M&A Executive Search assisted the city in its search to find a replacement for former public work director/city engineer Katy Gehler, who resigned in July.

Madigan said that between 25 and 30 candidates applied for the position, a number he called a “good response.” That group was weeded down to 10, then to four, and then to the finalists, Stapf and David Stoliker of New Mexico.

The proposal calling for Stapf’s hiring was included in the council’s meeting package that was distributed last Friday.

In addition to his work in Hernando County, Stapf served as director of utilities for the city of Wyoming, MI for 17 years.

Stapf attended Tuesday’s council meeting.


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