While there’s still a few weeks before he starts, Watertown’s new city administrator, Jake Foster, is looking forward to his new job. One of the aspects of the job is meeting the community, which he is planning to do soon. In the mean time, Jeff O’Neill will continue to interim and prepare things for Foster’s arrival.
There are still a few things to resolve for Foster before his first day as city administrator. As assistant city administrator for Chanhassen, he has to finish out his last days per Chanhassen’s contract. Foster also has a more fun factor affecting his exact start date: a new baby.
“She could come any day now,” he said.
Foster’s experience as assistant city administrator for Chanhassen will help him in the transition to Watertown. He’s already familiar with Carver County’s rules for cities, the policing practices, and key figures in most of the communities. In fact, during his time in Chanhassen, he often heard about Watertown’s activities and reputation, so he already had a good idea of the community before applying.
“Watertown has a great reputation for being a well run community and economic development,” he said. “That’s what made it an attractive position for me.”
It also felt like the right time for Foster in terms of career advancement. Aside from working with Chanhassen, he’s also worked in Fridley as a digital marketing assistant as well as assistant city administrator for Lake Elmo. When the position in Watertown opened, Foster decided with what he knew of the city and his experience that it was time to take a step up.
With the remaining time at Chanhassen and baby on the way, Foster is currently scheduled to start in the first week of November. He stated that he is able to start earlier if possible, and is looking forward to his first days.
“I’m looking forward to helping with the big projects,” said Foster. “The community is so open and engaged with the city, and I’m looking forward to meeting them.”
No matter what happens, Foster is planning to be in town for the Downtown Trick or Treat. He will be using the opportunity to meet members of the community and business owners. When he’s not working, he can be found in parks, enjoying the outdoors, or sometimes reading with his family.
Until he starts, interim city administrator Jeff O’Neill will continue to work with the community and keep projects going. He’s had an amazing time being back in Watertown, bringing in his experience of being the city administrator previously in the late 80s.
“It was really exciting to see the changes in the community,” he said. “Projects we were working back then have been implemented, which is just really good to see.”
Previously the Monticello city administrator, O’Neill was heading towards retirement when he was contacted by Shane Fineran, now the Waconia city administrator. Upon hearing that Watertown would need someone in the interim, he decided to take one last summer off of retirement to help the city. He’s enjoyed his time in the community once again, and is looking forward to practicing his golf swing next summer. O’Neill will continue to work on projects until Foster comes in, so feel free to say hello before he retires.