City Administrator Angie Winquist led Glenwood through financial challenges

Prosecutors outline the financial case of the campaign against Lev Parnas as the criminal trial begins

Winquist has been employed with the city for over nine years, spending five years as city clerk and the last four as city administrator. During a recent interview, Winquist said the time is right for retirement. 

On Jan. 3, current city clerk Amber Farnan will begin her new duties as city administrator, replacing Angie Winquist, who retired Dec. 31. 

Highlights

  • “It was a challenge being here by myself,” Winquist recalled. “We had the interim who was not here very often so it was basically a one-person office until we got the clerk. We had Mike Flack part-time for a while, then we went full-time. After Mike left, we hired Amber.” 
The city found itself on the verge of a budget and financial crisis late in Kissel’s tenure as city administrator. Helping steer the city back on the right financial course, with the assistance of department heads, then-mayor Brian Tackett and some former and current city council members, was the first and biggest challenge Winquist faced during her time as administrator.  

  • “I have four grandchildren now so I decided it was time to retire, spend more time with family, do a little traveling and read some books,” she said. “I haven’t read a lot lately besides numbers.” Winquist joined the staff at City Hall in September 2012, replacing Judith Groves as city clerk. Winquist was promoted to city administrator in September 2017, filling a position that had been unoccupied for more than 18 months following the departure of Brian Kissel in February 2016. 

There have been other major challenges during Winquist’s tenure, including a historic flood event to deal with and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think with the team, we all hunkered down,” she said. ‘We got very conservative on the money – we didn’t spend a lot. The departments worked with me to kind of turn things around financially for the city.” 

Winquist has served under three mayors and several city council members., 

“They were all pretty good to work with,” she said. “Everybody has their personality but I was very transparent with them and I think I earned the trust back for the city. The communication became much more improved and working relationships within the department improved.” 

Having a major role in getting city finances back in order is one of the accomplishments Winquist is most proud of from her time at City Hall, along with the issuance of a $2.5 million general obligation bond in 2019 for the purchase and updating of public safety and maintenance equipment and improving city relations with the Glenwood Fire Department and Mills County officials. “One of the accomplishments I’m really proud about that we just recently did was the G.O. bond so we were able to buy the ladder truck, ambulance and a loader and sweeper for the street department,” she said. “And, we didn’t have to raise taxes very much. It was much needed. 

“I think we also built the relationship back with the fire department and (Fire Chief) Matt (Gray) has done a great job building his own staff there.”  In regard to the fire department, Winquist said there is still a need that should be addressed in the near future.

“Our struggle now is trying to get them a new building and we haven’t got there, yet,” she said. “I’ll be watching that from the outside. Hopefully, we get that going in the next year – it’s very much needed.”  Winquist and Farnan agree the transition in the city administrator’s office has been going smooth over the past several weeks.

Farnan, who has worked for the city since October 2017, is a certified clerk and will become a certified finance officer in 2022. She’ll continue to take job-related classes and training and also has plans to complete a master’s degree in public administration in the next five years. “Angie and I really work well together so it does make it easier for a smooth transition,” Farnan said. “Angie has left us in a great situation so I’m fortunate to come into this in a better situation than she came in. I’m just looking forward to be able to use that momentum to make the city better.”