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Sanford Center Interim executive director to be introduced Monday

BEMIDJI – An interim executive director for the city-owned Sanford Center will be introduced Monday during an advisory board meeting.

The announcement from city manager John Chattin comes after a candidate was interviewed for the permanent job Friday.

It also comes after Tammy Koolbeck, VenuWorks’ vice president of venue services, recently took over the Sanford Center account from Andy Long, vice president of events and entertainment, due to some company realignment. Koolbeck will be bringing in an interim executive director who will stay in Bemidji, unlike Long previously.

Long said he will still be involved to some degree in the Sanford Center.

“(Koolbeck) will be bringing in someone besides herself to be interim director so that we have better coverage,” Chattin said. “Instead of choosing to keep Tammy here, because she has tons of other commitments with VenuWorks, they are choosing to bring somebody else in to operate it.”

Long said the lone interviewee from Friday is still being considered for the job.

“(The advisory board) asked us to bring additional candidates in,” he said.

Chattin said VenuWorks could have candidates ready to interview by the end of the month. The city council will have the final say on the new executive director.

Roger Swanson was fired as the Sanford Center executive director in August after assuming the role permanently on Jan. 1.

Long said last month that VenuWorks received about 10 qualified applicants for the job. A few were from outside the company and one worked at the Sanford Center.

Long didn’t have a definitive timeline for when a hire would be made.

“We’re trying to get that position filled as soon as we can,” Long said.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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