Mendota Heights council to see a lot of new faces

Neil Garlock

Joel Paper

Jay Miller

As of election morning, there were 8,643 registered voters in Mendota Heights.


Candidate - Total - Percentage

Neil Garlock - 3,317 - 46.69

Sandra Krebsbach - 3,207 - 45.14

Randy Pentel - 554 - 7.80


Council member

Candidate - Total - Percentage

Jay Miller - 2,659 - 23.52

Steve Norton - 1,776 - 15.71

Mike Povolny - 2,203 - 19.48

Joel Paper - 3,077 - 27.21

Jeff Parker - 1,515 - 13.40

In a tight race, no incumbent was able to hold on to his or her seat on the Mendota Heights City Council.

In what was likely the closest race in the Review coverage area, Neil Garlock was narrowly elected mayor over incumbent Sandra Krebsbach and Randy Pentel. Garlock received roughly 47 percent of the votes against Krebsbach’s 45 percent. Only 110 votes separated the two of them.

Garlock, 58, said he was surprised. He ran for the office in 2014 ago and fell short.

“I knew this was going to be a tough race,” Garlock said.

He got a call from city administrator Mark McNeill around 11 p.m., saying he won by roughly 100 votes but the numbers had to be double checked.

This election cycle, Garlock said he did more door-to-door campaigning than two years ago, when he canvassed neighborhoods with larger groups. This time it was just his wife Mona and him out door-knocking.

“We had a lot of conversations with a lot of the residents of our city. We were really able to answer their questions thoroughly and I think that really helped,” Garlock said.

Garlock is a retired Mendota Heights police sergeant and worked for the city for three decades, so he said he has “a pretty good read” on all the departments.

He said he is a big proponent of teamwork and thinks it’s something that has been missing. He will also work to improve the morale at City Hall.

Garlock said he appreciated everyone who voted for him, adding that he had a lot of support from city employees.

“I think the vote is a reflection of what they need,” Garlock said, adding that he thinks everyone is well aware of recent city staffing problems and the need for more stability.

“I think everybody is ready for a change and there’s several other new council members coming on, so we’re going to develop a real strong team approach and see if we can get the work done,” Garlock said.


Paper, Miller joining council

Joel Paper, 43, received the most votes in the council race with roughly 27 percent of them.

He said he was excited and humbled to know that many residents voted for him.

Paper said he started this process two years ago when he ran for the first time against two incumbents. He said at that time there were no big issues in the community. “This time there were clearly a few more things going on,” Paper said. “I think it helped me that I had done this once before, but it’s very hard to beat an incumbent.

The first time Paper ran for office he had more time available and covered almost 95 percent of the community going door-to-door.

This time he worked harder to do more networking to get to people he normally wouldn’t be able to access.

Paper said in the end people expressed tremendous belief in him, and he is eager to try to live up to that.

Paper said first and foremost he intends to get acquainted with city staff and ask questions.

“I think it’s very important we have these conversations early, and I set the tone early that I’m not a micromanager but I also treat people like people,” Paper said.

As somebody new to elected office, he said, “I’m going in with open eyes and open ears. It’s important that I listen to the process and not force the process.

Jay Miller received roughly 24 percent of the votes to earn a seat on the council.

The 40-year-old said his wife woke him at 5 a.m. to tell him he won.

“I am very appreciative, but recognize that-- for me --this is a bittersweet moment as my father is not here to enjoy it with me,” Miller said, adding that he knows his dad is looking down on him and is hopefully proud of this accomplishment.

This was Miller’s first time running for office, but he said he approached it like he has done with everything else in his life: “with hard work, sincerity and honesty.

“I believe that anything worth doing requires these three facets, otherwise you cheat yourself and those around you.”

Miller said he will be reaching out to current council members to get himself up to speed on the pertinent and impending agenda items.

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Comment Here