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Bismarck city administrator retiring after 43+ years with the city

Long time Bismarck City Administrator Bill Wocken will retire next spring.

Wocken has served the city for more than 43 years. He handed Bismarck City Commissioners his retirement letter early – saying it gives city leaders time to plan for his successor.

"The city of Bismarck sits today on the brink of a truly legendary period of growth," Wocken told City Commissioners. "Within the next five years, the city will enjoy robust growth and development that will chart its course for the next several decades. While I would love to continue my present role during this period -- it would be very exciting -- I believe it's best to step aside now, and allow the very capable leadership that exists in the city to direct this next period of our growth."

Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary says there will be ample time for city leaders to talk about Wocken’s service to the city.

"Mr. Wocken has been an exemplary leader in this city," Seminary said. "He has taken this city through some very challenging times -- times when there was literally no money. With his leadership, he has not only changed the course of this city, with the cooperation of commissions and department heads -- but his intuition, his intelligence and his knowledge of what to do and what needed to be done."

Seminary suggested that the job be offered to assistant city administrator Keith Hunke.

"I have observed how Keith Hunke has networked at administrative levels, to learn how to be an exceptional assistant city administrator," Seminary said. "From my perspective, he would be an exceptional city administrator. I'm not saying we might not find somebody that's close to his talent. What we wouldn't find is someone that has the internal institutional knowledge that he has."

That proposal passed unanimously.

Wocken says the actual date of his retirement will be determined later.

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