by Dennis Dalman
In a stunning surprise announcement last week, Sartell City Administrator Patti Gartland announced she has accepted another job as president of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp.
Gartland, who’s has been Sartell’s administrator of 12 years, served during the mayorships of three men – Bob Pogatshnik, Tim O’Driscoll and current mayor Joe Perske. Before her tenure as administrator, she worked for 13 years as the development and planning director for St. Cloud.
Gartland will begin her new job June 1.
After Gartland’s resignation notification, Sartell residents and others in the region expressed high regard for Gartland, and most of their comments could be summarized in a simple sentence: Gartland gets things done.
“It’s a great opportunity for Patti,” said Sartell Mayor Perske. “She has fantastic leadership skills and so many contacts throughout the area. She did a fantastic job in Sartell and brought us some very prosperous times. She also carried us through some very lean times.”
Perske noted he and Gartland had some differences of opinions at times about certain city issues, mainly regarding uses of the half-cent regional sales tax. Despite those differences, Perske said he has high regard for her work.
“She’s brought a lot to this community and helped develop it to one of the highest-quality communities in Minnesota. She also helped get us through the Verso paper mill disaster, and she did a lot of work with the state legislature on behalf of Sartell.”
During her leadership in Sartell, the city’s population increased by 65 percent. In those years, the city saw economic development totaling nearly one-half billion dollars. Major economic achievements in the past decade, under Gartland’s tutelage, include the vast expansion of Sartell’s medical-services campus, several residential-housing booms, the acquisition and development of park lands, the Epic Center site (Walmart, Sam’s Club) and a search for a replacement use for the defunct Verso paper mill. Under Gartland’s tutelage, a number of public-private partnerships in Sartell were nurtured.
Gordy Meyer of Sartell, who is a member of the GSCDC Board and CEO of eBureau, is happy about the choice of Gartland as president.
“Patti is an excellent choice,'” he said. “I have had the fortune to work closely with her during the past few years on the Pinecone Central Park project in Sartell. She’s a positive and persistent problem-solver who is focused on accomplishing long-term project goals. Patti is great at bringing various parties together to accomplish a common goal. ”
Born and raised in St. Cloud, Gartland (Patti Olson), graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in community development (minor in economics) from St. Cloud State University. She has been honored with many awards, including three Excellence of Service awards from the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the ATHENA award from the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.
Gartland, who’s on vacation this week, could not be reached for comment.
A committee will be formed to help in the selection of Gartland’s replacement.
A private non-profit corporation with nearly 100 business members, the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. spearheads development efforts in the greater St. Cloud three-county region. It does that through identifying resources and facilitating collaboration among all the forces that help make the area cities grow and thrive economically, socially and culturally. The GSCDC was founded in 2011. It’s entirely self-funded through memberships, contributions and grants. Much of its work involved private-public partnerships.
Among its current plans are to expand service at the St. Cloud airport, create a more vibrant downtown area, expand corporate wellness programs, foster innovations and develop regional talents. The work of the GSCDC takes into account virtually every aspect of life in the region: businesses, industries, the workforce, schools, churches, housing, transportation, health-care, culture and entertainment, parks and recreation and more.