By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – Following an Executive Session which was added late to the Oct. 2 agenda, the Hot Springs City Council approved the hiring of a new City Administrator to replace Jeff Temple, who submitted an immediate resignation this past June after just over a year on the job.
The new City Administrator, Bob Nelson, Jr. (not related to current Hot Springs Mayor Bob Nelson), is a native of Deadwood but has been the City Administrator for the City of Belle Fourche for about one year.
Prior to taking on the administrative position in Belle Fourche, Nelson, who will turn 50 years old next month, was with the City of Deadwood for 25 years, where he had held multiple positions including City Planner, Zoning Administrator, Public Works Director and Capital Improvement Director. He started with the City of Deadwood working in the Wastewater Department. He is a graduate of Lead High School and attended the University of Nebraska for a couple of years.
He and his girlfriend have a combined total of five children, with only two of them currently still in school. He said his son is a senior at Lead High School and will remain there this year until he graduates. Their daughter is in the 8th grade and also currently plans to remain in school in the Northern Hills this year.
Nelson, who gave his current employer a one-month notice, will begin his job in Hot Springs on Nov. 13.
When asked what it was about Hot Springs’ City Administrator job that appealed to him and enticed him to apply, Nelson said he sees more similarities between Hot Springs and his hometown of Deadwood in terms of tourism and also historic preservation. He said he feels his background in both of those areas will lend itself well to the position in Hot Springs.
After leaving Hot Springs, the town’s former City Administrator Jeff Temple was hired in August by the City of Selma, N.C., as its Town Manager. However, according to a recent news article in the Johnstonian News, Temple last week submitted his immediate resignation on Oct. 5, after only seven weeks on the job. When announcing Temple’s resignation, Selma (N.C.) Mayor Byron McAllister sent an email to the Johnstonian News where he hinted that Temple had failed to meet the council’s expectations. “The Selma Town Council has made it clear that we hold our staff to high standards,” the mayor wrote. “We expect our staff to be courteous and respectful to each other. We expect staff to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
When Temple resigned from his City Administrator in Hot Springs on June 12, 2023, no official reason was provided by the City of Hot Springs.
Also during last week’s Oct. 2 Hot Springs City Council meeting, Public Works Engineer Tracy Bastian gave an update on the downtown road construction and said work on the suspended sidewalk would likely begin in the next couple of weeks and will begin with removal of the railing and concrete knee wall.
A Public Hearing was also held regarding an amendment to a Zoning Code which would allow the construction of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) along Hwy. 71, near the Southern Hills Golf Course. Doug Mangold, speaking on behalf of his wife Debbie who is president of the Boulder Falls Property Owners Association, expressed the group’s combined support of the project.
Chuck Martin, owner of the property and the developer for the proposed project, was also on hand and thanked residents of the golf course community and members of the city government for their support.
Don Olstad with the city’s Planning & Zoning Board also spoke and said Martin’s plans for the PUD are the most complete he’s ever seen and something very exciting and different for the city.
The City Council did not take any action following the Public Hearing, but are expected to at a later date.
Council President Bill Lukens, who was standing in for Mayor Bob Nelson who was absent due to illness also read a pair of proclamations during the meeting, the first for Black Hills Habitat for Humanity World Habitat Day on Oct. 2, 2023, and another recognizing the Kiwanis Club of the Black Hills’ 100th Anniversary.
Near the conclusion of the meeting, Finance Officer Misty Summers-Walton read a letter from Mayor Bob Nelson which explained his absence from the last four meetings due to the need to assist his daughter who had experienced a medical emergency. He had returned to Hot Springs recenlty and was planning to be at the Oct. 2 but then a COVID diagnosis prevented him from attending.