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Robertson sees a bright future for Prescott

PRESCOTT--Mike Robertson was spending an internship at the City of Hastings (Minn.) when the administrator there gave him some advice.

"He said I should consider administration because you have the personality for it," Robertson said.

Robertson took the advice to heart, as he's been a city administrator in Isanti, Oak Park Heights and Otsego, Minn., for the last 22 years. On June 4, Robertson became administrator for the fourth time, this time in the City of Prescott. He succeeds Elizabeth Frueh, who resigned last year to take a job with UW-River Falls.

The keys to being a good administrator? Robertson highlighted three key factors:

--You have to work with everyone whether of political persuasion or background.

--Be comfortable with making decisions on a daily basis.

--Develop a thick skin because you are going to deal with criticism.

Robertson grew up in Minneapolis and attended the University of Minnesota, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He then went to Mankato (Minn.) State University, where he earned his Masters' degree in City Planning and Management.

He said he became intrigued with the Prescott opening, as the commute from Stillwater (Minn.) to Otsego (where he worked since 1999) grew tiring, a change in wife Elizabeth's job at the University of Minnesota forced her to the south of the Twin Cities instead of the north and Prescott's reputation when making inquiries.

"Prescott is a beautiful city with a gorgeous downtown," Robertson said. "It is very strong financially since it has a high bond rating for a city of its size. It also has a good relationship with the surrounding communities."

Robertson also shared his thoughts on tourism, a popular topic around Prescott recently.

"Tourism is good, but a lot can be overwhelming," he said. "I definitely think it can be increased around Prescott."

In his brief time in Prescott, Robertson already is a fan of the Great River Road, which was recently voted as America's Prettiest Drive by The Huffington Post.

"I was driving it in a pouring rainstorm and it was still beautiful," he said. "I can't imagine what it is going to be like in the fall."

As administrator, Robertson will be the day-to-day supervisor for Prescott and report to the city council. He said last week he's still getting used to the budget, audit and meeting with department heads, and the differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin government.

"I'm up to my ankles now, but I will eventually be up to my knees," he said, laughing.

Robertson said he likes golfing with his nephew and taking daytrips with Elizabeth when not working. Presently, the couple is still living in Stillwater, but is in the process of moving to Prescott.

"I am very happy to be here," he said.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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