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Bound for Baxter: Chapulis leaving Worthington for city administrator post

Brad Chapulis poses with his “Volunteer of the Year” award at the Worthington Area YMCA pool earlier this month. Chapulis has accepted a job as city administrator in Baxter; his last day with the city of Worthington will be April 26. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Brad Chapulis, community and economic development director for the city of Worthington, has accepted the city administrator position in Baxter. He will begin his new job May 1.

A Chicago native, Chapulis has spent the last 18 years of his life in Worthington. “Bittersweet” was one word he used to describe his thoughts on leaving the city for the new position.

“I’m absolutely excited for the opportunity,” Chapulis said. “Baxter is a great community that has a lot of great things going for it.

“But on the same note, it’s bittersweet. I’ve been here for 18 years, and this has been the place my wife and I started our family … it’s been the only home we’ve known as a family.”

His wife, Paula, and daughters, Gabrielle and Violet, will stay in Worthington for at least the rest of the school year. Chapulis said his family had a similar reaction to the job offer.

“We’re excited for the opportunities ahead of us but sad at the same time,” he said. “We’re leaving a great situation and a great community. It’s a special place — it’ll always have a close place to our hearts.”

Chapulis knew he wanted a city administrator position since 2015, when he was named interim city administrator for Worthington.

“I soon learned that I enjoyed the nuances of the job and have kept an eye on administrative opportunities through the League of Minnesota Cities and other associations,” Chapulis said. “I was selectively looking and waiting for the right opportunity to come along.”

From 1995 to 1998, Chapulis worked as a city planner in Mason City, Iowa. He was hired as Worthington’s planning and economic development manager in 1998, and became director in 2003.

Along with his work for the city, Chapulis has been heavily involved in community efforts. He was awarded YMCA volunteer of the year last year for his efforts on the parent board and with swim team. He also volunteered for many organizations including the Habitat for Humanity Southwest Minnesota District and the Minnesota chapter of the American Planning Association.

Paula works as parish director at St. Mary's Catholic Church and served as chair of the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation.

City Administrator Steve Robinson, who worked closely with Chapulis, said he refused to open his resignation letter.

“I know it’s the type of opportunity he’s been looking for, so I’m very happy for him,” Robinson said. “But I really hate to see him leave, which is why I haven’t even opened his email that supposedly contains his letter of recommendation.”

Robinson said the position would not be replaced immediately, as there is nobody on staff who could step in right away.

“We’re looking at contracting with the Southwest Regional Development Commission to provide planning service as needed in the interim, but we’ll be evaluating our steps as we go forward,” he said.

Chapulis will earn a salary of $110,000 in his new post. His last day with the city of Worthington is April 26.

“Worthington has great things going on for it,” Chapulis said. “I’ll be watching from afar and seeing those things transpire and come to fruition.”