But Wolfe, who was deputy city manager in Aurora, Colorado near Denver, is from Minnesota and had previously worked for the cities of Arden Hills and Cottage Grove.
“(Blaine) always had a good reputation, both as a place to live and as an organization as a well-run city,” she told North Metro TV in an interview this week.
“It’s completely like drinking from a fire hose,” she said. “It’s been an incredibly warm welcome and I’m learning a lot but it has just been a whirlwind.”
She said her goal has been to meet with as many city departments and employees as she can, along with elected officials.
“There’s a balance of the time spent internally…making sure you have the communication channels open and establishing expectations and priorities, and then the community,” she said. “Every city, including Blaine, has a talented staff who have been doing their jobs for a long time (and) know what they’re doing. They don’t need a city manager to come in and star giving them day-to-day direction.”
“(The ranking) was announced on my first day,” said Wolfe. “While I would love to take credit for helping with that, it really is a testament to the elected officials, the employees, the residents, and the businesses that have all played a role in bringing the city to that point.”
Wolfe also cited opportunities for Blaine and its measured development efforts through the on-going work on Interstate 35W.
“That was all being discussed 10-12 years ago when I was in Arden Hills and part of the I-35W Corridor Coalition,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see that is happening and that’s going to be a difference maker.”
Wolfe, who also worked for the city of Naperville, Illinois, a busy Chicago suburb, drew a few parallels between Blaine and Aurora, an eastern suburb of Denver, including the inclusion in its city limits of multiple school districts and counties. But she’s hoping for a chance to work with other, neighboring partners as she’d seen before in Cottage Grove and Arden Hills.
“In Minnesota, I experienced great regionalism and to me, that benefits the taxpayers, it benefits the residents and the businesses because that leads to more efficiencies,” she said.
But it’s where Blaine is and how it’s gotten there that she is most excited about.
“I just keep thinking: you really couldn’t ask for a better starting point,” said Wolfe. “The team of staff and employees is solid and there’s just nowhere to go but up.”