Former staffer Lance Roisum named by council to top city post

By Louis Hoglund

Current City Administrator Don Solga, who is retiring Jan. 1 after 18 years in the position, with replacement Lance Roisum.

A familiar face will return to Pelican Rapids City Hall, but in a new role. 

Former public works staff member Lance Roisum will return to Pelican as the new city administrator following action Nov. 3 by the city council. 

Four finalists were interviewed Nov. 2 over a nearly six-hour period. The council discussed the appointment for several hours after and returned to finalize the salary package and other details on Nov. 3. 

Roisum was with the city from 2004 to 2018, but has held a position with Lakes Country Service Cooperative since 2019 as a health and safety facilitator for schools and government agencies throughout the region. 

Selected from a field of four finalists for interviews and a fifth that the Pelican council declined to call in for an interview, Roisum comes to the position with a degree in business administration and finance from Mayville State University—and a solid work record with the city and the service cooperative. 

But his administration and management experience is limited. “There is a high learning curve….It’s going to be tough,” said Councilman Steve Foster. 

But the council displayed its confidence in Roisum, voting unanimously to offer him the position. 

Participating in the interview process was a select volunteer committee, which included former Pelican mayor Wayne Runningen; longtime business owner Phil Stotesbery; Chamber of Commerce President Joe Clauson; area real estate broker Mike Carlson; and the Rev. Justin Fure.

Also involved in the interviews were all six of the city’s department heads—including Roisum’s former boss, Brian Olson. Roisum will now be the administrator of all of those city departments, including the police, public works, and office staff. 

Another former city employee, Julie Lammers, was also one of the four finalists. She is city clerk-treasure for the city of Vergas. 

Also interviewed was Tom Mortenson, a past administrator with Becker County and a past building and zoning director in Florida. Lukas Darling also interviewed for the post. He is the deputy town administrator in Otterbein, Indiana. Both of these candidates had advanced degrees in administration. 

The official starting date for Rosium is Dec. 5, earlier if it can be arranged. 

Lance Roisum, foreground, at the Nov. 3 Pelican Rapids City Council meeting, where the terms were discussed in his new position as city administrator. Background, councilmembers Steve Foster, Curt Markgraf, Mayor Brent Frazier, Kevin Ballard, and Steve Strand.

Roisum will start his new position on the lower end of the city’s advertised salary schedule for city administrator, at about $78,000, plus health insurance, a health savings account, 401K retirement match, public employee retirement, and other benefits. 

He will be credited for his prior 14 years with the city, qualifying for three weeks of paid vacation in 2024. 

A volunteer coach at the Pelican Rapids schools, Roisum and the council discussed his request to be able to coach after school. 

Councilman Kevin Ballard suggested that coaching be “put on hold” for a year. “Next year, you’ll have a better idea of the time commitment,” said Ballard. 

As a salaried position, the city administrative post does not include provisions for comp time and overtime, noted city administrator Don Solga. Consequently, the administrator position’s schedule is somewhat self-managed—within expectations for meetings during office hours and a range of after-hours meetings. 

Councilman Steve Strand said, “we’ve placed our trust in Lance to manage his own schedule,” and made a motion to hire Roisum. It was seconded by Councilman Foster—and approved by a 5-0 vote. 

Roisum has many connections to Pelican Rapids and is a 1996 graduate. His wife Jill is a teacher-coach at the high school. 

Lance was one of four athletic brothers who played sports in Pelican, including his brothers, his twin Brady, Trevor, and Reed. 

He is the son of Wayne and Joanne Roisum.