WORTHINGTON — Over the course of the last several weeks, Alaina Kolpin has served as the Worthington City Council’s latest honorary member.
Now, Kolpin is a full-time member of the council.
Acting on a recommendation of a city subcommittee, the city council voted 4-0 during a special Friday afternoon meeting to appoint Kolpin to fill the seat vacated by the sudden death of Mike Harmon last month. Kolpin will represent Ward 2 on the council and serve the remainder of Harmon’s four-year term, which expires in December 2022.
Kolpin grew up on a farm outside of Heron Lake and later attended the College of St. Benedict, majoring in political science. She graduated in 2014 and then went on to attend the University of South Dakota School of Law for three semesters before moving to Worthington with her husband, Quinn, in 2016. Kolpin was hired at Mike Woll Investment Office, where she’s still employed, and Quinn was able to secure a position with the city of Worthington.
For the first three years Kolpin resided in Worthington, she kept busy professionally with both her job and working toward her licensure as a certified financial planner. Recently, she’s been able to pursue getting more involved in her community.
“Last year, through Community Education, I participated in a program … called Worthington Leadership Perspectives,” Kolpin said by phone Friday afternoon. “It was about figuring out ways you can get involved in the community.”
Kolpin explained that she read a few books that began leading her toward political involvement, though she wasn’t interested in a career as a professional politician. She began thinking about potentially joining a committee or board, and earlier this year began serving in the honorary city council member program.
“With Mike Harmon passing away, I was in the position where I thought I could do this and learn more about this city,” Kolpin said. “We love living here, so this is an opportunity to make the community an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
All eligible applicants interested in representing Ward 2 on the council were welcomed and encouraged to apply for the appointment by no later than 5 p.m. March 31. A subcommittee consisting of council members Amy Ernst and Chad Cummings, Worthington City Clerk Mindy Eggers, Worthington Assistant City Administrator/Director of Economic Development Jason Brisson and Mayor Mike Kuhle reviewed the applications, and it was Ernst who moved to have the council appoint Kolpin during Friday’s meeting.
After Kolpin’s unanimous appointment, which came without discussion, Kuhle made remarks about the process of selecting Harmon’s replacement.
“We had nine high-quality applications and I have no doubt that each of them would have done a great job,” Kuhle said. “On behalf of the council and the subcommittee, thank you for your interest in this position.”
Kuhle also spoke about how the subcommittee worked to make its final recommendation.
“We ended up using a ranking system that city staff uses during their hiring process,” Kuhle said. “It was brought together by Jason Brisson, and I want to thank him for that.
“It was hard and quite frankly it was sad to turn down some very qualified applicants,” the mayor added. “With that, I hope they consider getting involved in our city … moving forward. We congratulate Alaina, and I’m sure she’ll do a great job.”
In a separate matter Friday, council members unanimously approved a newly proposed not-to-exceed fee of $1,700 — a $500 increase from a previously approved amount — for an appraisal by Nagell Appraisal & Consulting for certain Worthington Economic Development Authority-owned property located south of 27th Street and west of U.S. 59.
Brisson explained that the original scope of work included one per-acre price for the entire property. After speaking with city staff, he said, the consultant advised it may be beneficial to increase the scope of work to include a tiered pricing structure based on the future land use plan for the area recently developed by Bolton & Menk Inc.
“Staff is working with the appraiser to determine the updated deliverable date to ensure the timeline of the EDA’s current economic development project will be unaffected,” Brisson added.