Updated: Farmington council appoints new member

Katie Bernhjelm
Katie Bernhjelm

Katie Bernhjelm selected from among nine applicants

by Maren Bauer
Sun Thisweek
Dakota County Tribune

At Monday’s city council meeting, the Farmington City Council appointed Katie Bernhjelm as its newest council member.

She replaces Tim Pitcher who resigned on March 9 and whose term was set to end in December 2018. Because there were fewer than two years left on the term, a special election was not required.

After the City Council and City Administrator David McKnight conducted interviews of the nine applicants on April 10 and 13, the council directed McKnight to swear in Bernhjelm at Monday’s meeting.

Mayor Todd Larson said he is happy to have Bernhjelm on the council.

The former Burnsville resident and Eastview High School graduate who has lived in Farmington since July was selected over more experienced applicants.

“I’ve always had an interest to get involved in local politics,” Bernhjelm said. “When my husband and I bought our home in Farmington last summer I had expressed interest in getting involved at some point. When the position was posted to fill the vacant seat, my husband encouraged me to apply. Although the timing is kind of comical as I’m due with our first child on May 2, and we’ve lived in Farmington for about a hot minute, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to achieve one of my goals.”

Other applicants were former Farmington City Council Member Christy Fogarty, former Farmington School Board Member Brian Treakle, Rob Carpentier, Trina Greene, Mitch Snobeck, Brett Wilson, Eric Edwards and Nick Gessell.

Bernhjelm has worked with the Minnesota Vikings since May 2013 as a marketing partnerships coordinator and manager, the latter of which she’s been for the past year and a half.

She works out of the Vikings’ current headquarters in Eden Prairie, which will be moved to Eagan after construction is complete on a new corporate center, training facilities, practice fields and 6,000-seat stadium in March 2018.

Prior to her work with the Vikings, she was a publicist for Minneapolis-based Allied Integrated Marketing for a little over a year and worked in business development, marketing and event operations at the Mall of America for four years.

Bernhjelm earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2009. There she majored in communications and minored in leadership.

In addition to newcomer Robyn Craig who won election in 2016, the council includes three-term members Larson and Terry Donnelly, two-term member Jason Bartholomay.

The selection of Bernhjelm brings a young and new resident voice to the council to replace Pitcher.

“I hope to gain a deeper understanding of how Farmington operates along with the city’s goals, be a voice for the community, especially other young families like ours who are a growing portion of our city population, and to help position Farmington as a great place to work, play and live,” Bernhjelm said.

Pitcher had retired early from a 32-year career in engineering and left the council unexpectedly this spring after narrowly losing the state Senate District 58 race.

Pitcher wrote in his resignation letter to the city: “I have been given the unique opportunity to save and improve lives in the private sector, in which I am moving out of Farmington to perform.”

He has since declined further comment regarding his resignation.

Contact Maren Bauer at [email protected]