Partly due to the November election, and partly due to retirements, local leadership is set to undergo a wave of changes as 2018 turns to 2019. With that come new ideas, new energy and new interest.
We’re optimistic that the fine standard of leadership set by those leaving the scene as the year ends will be maintained by the new cadre of leaders. That’s because, unlike in some places, changes in leadership here in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota tend to come in measured steps. There are rarely wild swings in character or style or politics.
At Mayo Clinic, Minnesota’s largest private employer, Dr. John Noseworthy, who has been president and CEO since 2009, will hand over leadership of the nation’s No. 1 ranked medical center to Dr. Gianrico Farrugia. It should be a seamless transition, in that Farrugia has been CEO of Mayo’s Jacksonville campus since 2015, and was at Mayo Rochester for 26 years prior to that.
The University of Minnesota Rochester got a new chancellor this year, Lori Carrell. And just last week, the University of Minnesota selected a new president, Joan Gabel. We’re anticipating a close working relationship as these new leaders continue to chart the future of the university, especially here in Rochester.
Rochester city government will get a makeover, with a new mayor, Kim Norton, replacing Ardell Brede, who served for 16 years, and two new council members. Norton has promised to be an active mayor, pushing the boundaries of Rochester’s week mayoral system. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the factions and alliances on the city council change with new personalities in the mix.
Also in Rochester city government, new police and fire chiefs were hired this year, and it’s possible both departments could put new strategies in place in the coming year.
Two active school volunteers were elected to the Rochester School Board in November, and should add to the expertise of the citizens and former teachers already on the board. We like the board’s current makeup and trust it is ready to face the challenges of the coming year.
Finally, at the state level, Minnesota has a new governor, but Gov.-elect Tim Walz is no stranger to southeastern Minnesota. Walz has served as First District representative in Congress for the past 12 years. That background bodes well, both for the interests of our region, and for Walz’s determination to settle some of the rural and urban disputes that have proved so harmful to the state in recent years.
All in all, as we close out 2018, we look forward to seeing how a flock of new leaders tackles the issues of 2019.