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Michelle Pietrick is leaving her position as St. Croix County finance director after nearly nine years to take a position with the city of South St. Paul. Photo by Jon Echternacht

Pietrick moves on to city government

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Michelle Pietrick is moving on to another government entity. It appears to be in her blood.

For the nearly nine years, Pietrick, 50, has served St. Croix County as finance director. On March 7, she will take a similar position with the city of South St. Paul.

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"I have been looking for the last couple years," she said during a conversation in her government center office last week. "City government is really where my heart is."

"I like St. Croix County. There were a lot of challenges and a lot of good people here," Pietrick said.

The St. Cloud, Minn., native has a substantial background in government and finance. Fresh out of St. Cloud State with an accounting degree she went to work in the state auditor's office in Minnesota in 1985-1994. She then went to work for a Minneapolis agency and obtained a Master's in public administration for Hamline University in St. Paul.

On April 28, 2003, Pietrick took the position with St. Croix County.

"Ironically, the budget was on track to reach $100 million," Pietrick said. "This year it is $70 million."

She acknowledged some state initiatives such as long-term care reform have helped, but the county has done its own belt tightening. "The first budget I worked on in 2004 was $73 million and last year's budget was $74 million," she noted.

Pietrick said her nearly nine years on the job has been a good experience and she has seen the bond rating go from Moody's A to Moody's AA because the county "is conservative and well run."

Pietrick said there have been a lot of changes during her watch, particularly in sheer numbers. "Admit it or not, we are one of the (Twin Cities) metropolitan counties," she said.

For the future, Pietrick said the county has been looking into a joint purchasing agreement with the Hudson School District, which could benefit both in terms of equipment and materials used by each.

Pietrick embraces the challenges of her new job. She recently learned that South St. Paul has its own airport, Fleming Field, to maintain.

"Michelle did an outstanding job and served the board and the citizens of St. Croix County with distinction," said County Administrator Patrick Thompson. "She assisted the board and administrator in financial decisions. She has been extremely valuable to the county and will be missed."

Pietrick graduated from St. Cloud Apollo High School in 1980 and earned her bachelor's degree from St. Cloud State in 1985. He father, a World War II paratrooper, worked for the city so it could be said she comes to a career in public service naturally.

She and her husband of nearly 25 years, Rick, are avid hockey fans and own season tickets to the Minnesota Wild games.

"We had tickets before the team was established," she said, "I think our number is 1300."

Her office is adorned with a Minnesota Wild jersey once owned by former player now director of player development Brad Bombardir and a St. Louis Blues sweater signed by the entire team.

She and Rick live in Roseville, Minn. Rick works in the Minnesota state auditor's office where they met. The couple has a mission to visit all 30 hockey rinks in the NHL. So far they have made it to 10 venues.

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