by Dennis Dalman
There will be at least two new people on the Sartell City Council come January 2019 – a new mayor and a new council person.
On May 24, business developer Tim Elness filed as a candidate for a city-council position, one of three open seats on the council to be determined in the Nov. 6 election.
Those three contested positions are for mayor and for two council members. Current Sartell Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll announced she will not file for re-election.
The other open seats are now held by David Peterson and Pat Lynch. Peterson announced he will file for the mayoral position, as did Ryan Fitzthum, whose council seat is not up for election.
The second council-member position is now occupied by Pat Lynch, who has not yet announced a bid for re-election, at least not as of Newsleader press-time Wednesday morning.
Elness said he decided to file as a candidate because he has a good understanding of Sartell, having served on the Sartell Planning Commission for two years and as a member of the board of the Sartell Chamber of Commerce. He is also a Sartell firefighter, having joined the department two years ago.
Elness is vice president of business development for W. Gohman Construction Co., based in St. Joseph. Formerly of Minneapolis, Gohman moved to Sartell four years ago with his wife, Cathy, and their three children: Benjamin, 17; Grace, 14; and Lily, 12. The family lives on Sartell’s Cougar Lane.
Even before moving to Sartell, Elness commuted from South Minneapolis to his job in St. Joseph for W. Gohman Construction. In an interview with the Newsleader, he said he began to learn about the greater St. Cloud area during those years of commuting, and he was especially impressed with the community spirit in Sartell, its growth and its excellent education system. Those factors caused him and his wife to look for a home to buy in the city.
Cathy Elness is director of healthy living at the new YMCA in St. Cloud.
Elness graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies from Augsburg College and then went on to accrue skills and experience in the building industry. That experience and knowledge of building and business, he believes, would be a big boost in helping attract more businesses to Sartell.
Elness said he would like to help make Sartell, a “great city,” an even better city.
“I never had any political ambitions until I joined the planning commission,” he said. “That’s when I began to learn more about city government and how things work. A lot of people encouraged me to run for council because of my background. Another thing that convinced me to file for election is the outstanding city staff here. They always give great support – always on the ball in presenting information to the planning committee.”
Among Elness’s previous work experiences are the following:
Director of business development for Sheehy Construction, Twin Cities area; Native American business-development director for JE Dunn Construction for which he worked with Native Americans across the United States to help them with development needs; Special Deputies volunteer sergeant with the Patrol Division for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department, for which he helped at accidents and other rescue emergencies.
Elness has also enjoyed his work as an Alpine ski patroller at Lutsen Mountain and Buck Hill ski resorts, both in Minnesota.