Women swimming

Swimmers emerge from Rainy Lake in 2019, as they finish the swimming portion of the triathlon.

International Falls will have a new police chief next month.

The Falls City Council Monday approved Mayor Harley Droba's appointment of Mike Kostiuk, who now serves as Falls police captain.

The council also authorized a meeting with Kostiuk to negotiate a salary within parameters, and to advertise for candidates to fill the captain position.

The move for Kostiuk is effective July 6 with the retirement of Police Chief Rich Mastin.

City Administrator Betty Bergstrom described the hiring process, explaining that three applicants who met the minimum requirements responded to the advertisement and were interviewed and ranked by a hiring committee.

Droba called each candidate and made a recommendation, and now asked the council for concurrence with his selection to fill the position.

Droba told the council, following the vote, that he did not ask the committee for its rankings of the candidates, until after he had made a decision.

The No. 1 candidate from the hiring committee matched Droba's, he said.

“It's clear Capt. Kostiuk is the best choice for police chief,” Droba said.

Triathlon Aug 21

Also Monday, the council approved the Great Up North Triathlon and 5K, as proposed by Ashley Hall and Evolve U Fitness and Wellness.

The Aug. 21 event will begin at 8 a.m., with most of it at City Beach and similar to how the 2019 event functioned.

Droba said the event, canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, was a good one, bringing people into the area.

“I look forward to not participating this year,” he joked of the challenging-for-most-people sports event that calls for competitors to swim one quarter mile, bike ride 15-miles and run.

Information provided to the council said the event would use the basketball court as the transition area, the water in front of city beach for the swimming portion, and the parking lot for check-in, event activities and some parking. Athletes and spectators will also park on the road.

Evolve U will have volunteers in the water watching and assisting athletes, volunteers and water stations along the route and people riding the route to ensure the safety of the participants.

The Great Up North Triathlon will be insured through Borderland Insurance, and each participant will be required to sign a liability waiver; Evolve U Fitness & Wellness LLC assumes all liability.

The Monday council agreed by vote to delete from Monday's agenda, a recommendation from the Human Resource Committee to approve hiring a human resources/safety director position in the Administration Department.

Information provided to the council from Bergstrom said her hiring as the administrator left a vacancy in the department, and a heavier workload.

The discussion at and prior to the May committee discussion has been prompted by the idea the city has an average of 54 full-time employees and 76 part-time employees at any given time, illustrating a need for the position.

Other business

In other business, the council:

  • Heard from Droba an update of the July 4 festivities. He said the committee continues to seek a band to play at the street dance July 3.
  • Heard from resident Curt Wagner about concerns he has about the 15th Street project. After discussion, Droba said the concern will be revisited at the June 21 meeting. “Let us try to get this right and get this fixed,” Droba asked.
  • Approved a $32,762 quote from Midwest Playscapes for playground equipment, border, and installation of the equipment at City Beach.
  • Approved the $5,817 low quote from Complete Comfort Systems for installation of a unit heater in the street garage.
  • Will request Ranier Recreation Commission remove the piano from under the pavilion at City Beach due to its poor condition.
  • Approved low quote from Adam McIntyre Painting for painting of 50 street light poles and repairs/painting of Smokey Bear statue, as budgeted items.
  • Heard from Bergstrom that she is consulting the city's home rule charter and the League of Minnesota Cities, and will recommend how to handle the city's legal notices in light of the announced shutdown of the county's legal newspaper, The International Falls Journal, at the end of June.
  • Approved the following low quotes on purchases for Fire Department equipment, following background provided by Fire Chief Adam Mannausau: Extrication equipment, as budgeted items at $32,865 from Grand Forks Fire Equipment; Rescue Struts at $3,800 from Grand Forks Fire Equipment; and lifting bags, 5 bag set with controls at $6,695 from Alex Air Apparatus.