The list of people being considered for Rochester's top administration position has narrowed to two women.

The Rochester City Council affirmed the selection of the top two applicants without comment Monday, as plans remain to make a final selection by year's end.

The applicants are Heidi Nelson, the Maple Grove city administrator, and Alison Zelms, Mankato's deputy city manager.

Nelson previously served as the Wayzata city administrator, Ramsey city administrator/community development director, and assistant to the Blaine city manager. She has a Bachelor of Science in community health education from the University of Nebraska and a Master of Arts degree in public administration from Hamline University.

Zelms has previous experience serving as the Prescott, Ariz., deputy city manager, the Sedona, Ariz., assistant city manager, and the director of administrative hearings for Evanston, Ill. She received her Bachelor of Arts in public administration from Augustana College and her Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas.

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The applicants were narrowed from a pool of five interviewed last week by a subcommittee composed of City Council President Randy Staver, council members Nick Campion and Patrick Keane, Rochester Human Resources Director Linda Hillenbrand, and City Attorney Jason Loos.

Final interviews are expected to happen Dec. 2 with city leadership and Dec. 3 with the City Council, according to Hillenbrand.

Staver said the final council interviews are expected to be virtual using teleconferencing software, and the public will have the opportunity to listen in.

In addition to council members, the four newly elected council members are being offered the chance to sit in on the interviews, even though they will not have a vote before taking office in January.

The search process started earlier this year after City Administrator Steve Rymer announced plans to transition out of the top administration role to be closer to his family. The city hired Baker Tilly to conduct the nationwide search, which led to 59 applications.