Gaa named Aberdeen city manager

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By oe Gaa has been named as the next Aberdeen city manager.

“I’m a Midwesterner. I grew up in Missouri, spent most of the last decade in Iowa. Dickinson was perfect, the right size, and growing; but just a little too far away from home. I wanted to be a little closer to home,” said Gaa by phone on Sunday.

Gaa has been the city administrator for Dickinson, N.D., since Nov. 26, 2018. He will replace City Manager Lynn Lander in mid- to late June. Lander has held the position for seven years and will be retiring.

Mark Remily, city councilman, confirmed Gaa’s approval for the Aberdeen position on Sunday.

The council spent Friday and Saturday in closed work sessions. It had narrowed down its candidates to six people: Karl Alberts and Brett Bill of Aberdeen; Ana Cortez of Helena, Mont.; Seth Kauffman of St. Cloud, Minn.; Shawn Henessee of Clark County, Wash.; and Gaa.

“Following a series of thorough interviews with all six candidates and with input from community leaders and city department heads, the council chose Joe Gaa as new city manager,” said Mayor Travis Schaunaman on Sunday. “We made our employment offer to him (Saturday) and he enthusiastically accepted.”

Gaa said he was impressed with the people he met during his visit. Aberdeen is the right size and things are happening here.

“The community is obviously growing. I came from a smaller rural community, so that stuff has been exciting here. I want to come in and be supportive where I need to be,” said Gaa. “This is all I’m thinking about. I look forward to becoming part of your community.”

“We look forward to welcoming him to Aberdeen and working with him for years to come,” said Schaunaman.

Gaa was previously city manager for Chariton, Iowa, from 2014-18; city administrator for Woodbine, Iowa, and before that, parks administrator for Sebastian County, Ark., according to a story from the Dickinson Press.