by Jeff Hage

APG of East Central Minnesota

The city of Princeton has tapped into Mille Lacs County’s leadership team for its next city administrator.

Michele McPherson has been hired to the city’s top administrative position.

Princeton City Council Member Jenny Gerold made the announcement at the Thursday, Feb. 4, council workshop.

Gerold noted that three years ago McPherson was a finalist for the position that ultimately went to Robert Barbian.

Barbian resigned as Princeton’s city administrator effective Dec. 22, 2020.

“She comes with over 30 years of government experience,” Gerold told members of the Princeton City Council.

That experience includes 15 years with Mille Lacs County as land services director and county recorder and six years as director of planning for the city of Elk River. She also worked in the city planner’s office for the city of St. Paul where she worked to develop St. Paul’s first city plan.

A Fridley native, McPherson holds a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University. She also holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota.

McPherson is no stranger to Princeton, where she serves a president of the Mille Lacs County Agricultural Society, the organization that owns the Mille Lacs County Fairgrounds and Princeton Speedway in Princeton and hosts the annual Mille Lacs County Fair.

McPherson said she was interested in the position of Princeton city administrator because it’s a role she has been working towards for some time.

“It’s one of the reasons I obtained my master’s in public administration,” McPherson said.

She noted that she has applied for such positions at both the county and city level in the past, including three years ago in Princeton when Mark Karnowski retired from the city’s top administrative post.

Princeton is a good fit for McPherson.

“Princeton is close to home and as a fair board volunteer, I am pretty invested in the community,” she said.

McPherson said she was flattered and excited when Gerold offered her the position on behalf of the Princeton City Council.

“I am looking forward to serving the council, staff and residents of Princeton and look forward to building new and strengthening old relationships on behalf of the city,” she said.

McPherson will begin work on Monday, March 8, Gerold said.

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