New city administrator welcomes the demanding tasks of job


After filling the vacancy of Watertown City Administrator earlier this month, Shane Fineran has been plenty busy, an aspect that attracted Fineran to the position in the first place.

Fineran grew up in Anoka County and went to Saint Francis High School. From there, Fineran would further his education with an Bachleors degree from the University of Wisconsin and then a Master’s degree in public administration at Hamilton University

Between overseeing a city’s daily operations, implementing direction on policy and procedures, and just being an overall advisor to the council, Fineran will have his hands full as Watertown’s City Administrator. But after leaving his position as the assistant city administrator in Waconia, ​​​​Fineran welcomes future projects and a very busy schedule.

“What attracted me to Watertown is the type and scoop of all the different projects and initiatives,” said Fineran. “I want to see [these projects] come alive. The city council seems to be forward thinkers, and it’s important to know that our actions today effect the community of tomorrow.”

An example of one of those decisions of today that has significant future impact is the CSAH 10 bridge project, and the council’s decision to pause construction until 2015. A decision that was disappointing, but ultimately one ​​​​Fineran is satisfied with.

“Either way was fine with me, you just have to take the decision and roll with it.” said Fineran when asked about the council delaying the CSAH bridge project.

But as an advisor and not a policymaker, ​​​​Fineran is there to council the city council and not necessarily persuade them.

“I hope my imput matters, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in if it didn’t.”

However, Fineran isn’t in Watertown to make decisions, he is here to give clarity. For Fineran, clarity is not just relaying information, but ensuring that information is absorbed, retained and understood.

“I want to make sure I’m providing enough quality information for the city council, and also provide different angles, presenting decision A versus decision B,” said Fineran.

Being lucid and clear to the council on decisions is a major piece in the development of Watertown. Seeing growth in Watertown is something Fineran sees and believes population increase is certainly in the forecast.

“The growth piece is important, we want to see more residence,” said Fineran. “A big piece of that is what do we consider about our city’s amenities, how do we better define what Watertown has to offer. This community does have a lot to offer, it’s just how do we tell people about our great community and city and how do we get people to know about that.”

With Watertown’s rich tradition, great citizens and beautiful community, a spike in population can realistically be in the city’s crystal ball. For the immediate future however, Fineran has one main initiative, something he made aware to the council prior to taking the position.

“The message I had for the council dwuring the recruitment process was we shouldn’t make decisions in a vacuum,” said Fineran. “We need to engage citizens and business owners. We should provide the right opportunity and enough opportunity for those who are engaged with the process.” ​

Contact Christopher Officer at [email protected]