Feb 28, 2024 | By: Lakeland News

Richard Spiczka Settling into Role of Bemidji City Manager

A city manager serves as a community executive and can impact the daily lives of the city’s residents. And Richard Spiczka, now entering his third month as Bemidji’s city manager, jumped at the opportunity to serve the area.

“It’s a unique community. I mean, we have a really, you know, really large medical campus. You got a four-year university, a huge event center. You have lots of cultures and perspectives in the community, and it’s a lot of variety,” said Spiczka. “It’s so many unique and interesting assets that, you know, create an ability to really foster relationships and create some partnerships that can move the community forward in a positive way.

Spiczka originally had an education background, coming from Pequot lakes as a community education director, but he sees the switch to city government as just another way to serve the public.

“It’s a public service piece. It’s just a different way to do it,” explained Spiczka. “That was the biggest reason that it kind of happened to get started, but [I] kind of really saw it and figured out how much of a way it was to continue that passion of public service and helping a community and helping people versus, you know, selling a product or working for a private corporation sort of thing.”

A city manager requires a lot of patient listening to their peers and the community they’re in, which Spiczka seems to have made a priority in his first few months.

“He’s had some challenges right out of the gate, but I appreciate how he’s been willing to tackle them,” said Bemidji Mayor Jorge Prince. “I appreciate the fact he’s willing to listen. And I think that’s really important because we have a very diverse community with many different cultures. So to listen and to make sure people are heard and to take that into consideration is really important and that he is a very even-tempered individual. And you need that, because sometimes you’re going to hear some really difficult things. You’re going to be faced with some really tough challenges, and you have to be able to weather the storm and make good decisions. So I appreciate that about it about him.”

Spiczka says he has enjoyed his time as Bemidji City Manager so far, but the future is where he is always looking.

“I think it’s a bright future,” Spiczka said. “I think it’s, I said it multiple times throughout my interview process and multiple times since, you know, I was kind of interviewing and researching Bemidji. Everybody was saying the same thing, like, ‘Really good community. We think we can even be greater than we are right now.’ And I’m hearing that still and I’m seeing that each day. So I think we’re going in a positive direction and we’re only going to get better from here.”

Richard Spiczka served as the Pequot Lakes City Administrator for three years before accepting the job as the Bemidji City Manager in last October.

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