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Hastings interim administrator Mesko Lee is council pick for city's top job

After interviewing three "very strong" candidates for Hastings' new city administrator Friday morning, the Hastings City Council voted to advance Melanie Mesko Lee forward in the hiring process.

Mesko Lee is the city's current interim administrator and formerly was the city's assistant city administrator under Dave Osberg.

The city administrator position became vacant last month, when Dave Osberg resigned in order to take the same position in the City of Eagan. Osberg's last day was March 22.

The council interviewed three candidates Friday morning. Melinda Coleman is the city administrator of the City of North Oaks. She has previously held progressively senior positions at the City of Maplewood and Target Corporation, and has a Master of Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma.

Charles Grawe is currently assistant city administrator of the City of Apple Valley and has held progressively senior positions during his time there. He has a Master of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Mesko Lee is currently the interim city administrator of the City of Hastings and has held progressively senior management positions here. She has a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Hamline University.

A fourth candidate, Catherine Green, withdrew from the process for family reasons.

Following the interviews, council members reviewed the candidates' qualifications. They all agreed that each candidate proved to be capable, and each brought a unique approach to the position. But ultimately, it was Mesko Lee's qualifications as well as a proven track record with the city that made her stand out.

Over the next few days, the council will conduct a reference check and background check and begin preparing a contract for employment. If all goes well, the council could vote to hire Mesko Lee at its May 6 meeting.