Jake Kerr

Sheldon recreation director Jake Kerr addresses the Sheldon City Council during its Oct. 19 meeting. Kerr recently submitted his resignation with his last day on Dec. 9.

SHELDON—The Sheldon City Council will review two resignations along with a potential appointment during the meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the Sheldon Community Services Center.

Sheldon recreation director Jake Kerr and Sheldon Police Department officer Shane Nellis put in their resignation notices, which are on the consent agenda. The fire chief for the Sheldon Fire Co. is the potential appointment on the new business agenda.

Kerr’s resignation was sent to the city offices last Wednesday. He has been the recreation director since 2014 and is resigning due to receiving the park and recreation director position for the city of Tea, SD. Tea is located just southwest of Sioux Falls, SD, and has a population of about 6,255.

His last scheduled shift with the Sheldon recreation department is Friday, Dec. 9.

“It was a very difficult decision to make for me,” said Kerr in his letter to the Sheldon city manager Sam Kooiker. “I’ve considered Sheldon a home for the past eight years. During my time here I’ve genuinely enjoyed working for the city of Sheldon and all the people who work for the city of Sheldon. I wouldn’t be the recreation director I am without the help of the city of Sheldon staff.

“I will also miss all the relationships I’ve made with employees, coaches, parents and participants throughout my years here.”

Sheldon recreation has grown considerably in the last two years under Kerr’s watch. During Kerr’s first year, the programs saw a drop-off from the previous year of 1,378 participants in 2013 to 1,264 in 2014. Then Kerr had to navigate the coronavirus pandemic with participating numbers dropping to 898 in 2020.

In 2021, the numbers bounced back considerably as there were 1,389 children who participated in the many recreation programs.

Then in 2022, the numbers grew by 16 percent as there were 1,660 kids that participated in the recreation programs, which Kerr said was a record during his report to the city council on Oct. 19.

Kerr also was responsible for bringing a baseball and softball clinic hosted by the Minnesota Twins to Sheldon in July.

Nellis sent in his resignation notice to the Sheldon Police Department on Thursday effective immediately. Nellis resigned due to personal reasons.

He joined the Sheldon Police Department in 2020 as a reserve officer and later was hired on full-time on Feb. 2.

The resignation puts the Sheldon Police Department at six officers until Monday, Nov. 21.

Sgt. Todd Wood retired at the end of September, leaving the staff with seven officers.

During the council meeting on Nov. 2, Trent Morton was hired as a full-time officer to replace Wood, but his official start date is not until Nov. 21.

The fire chief position will be discussed by the council due to the resignation of Denny Kruger, which was accepted during the council meeting on Nov. 2.

Kruger recommended Sheldon Fire Co. first assistant chief Brad Hindt be promoted by the council to the role of fire chief.

Hindt, who is on the city council, owns and operates Downtown Hardware in Sheldon. He has served on the Sheldon Fire Co. for the past 31 years and is a second-generation firefighter. He has worked his way through the ranks as a lieutenant, captain, secretary and treasurer within the department.

The recommendation was seconded by the department’s second assistant chief Scott Meinecke, who has served with Hindt for the past 26 years.

“Brad has diligently rose through the ranks to become the ‘true leader’ of the department,” said Meinecke in his letter. “He has done more as a whole than any past member has ever done. He has been the driving force for continuous improvement in trucks, facilities, equipment, tools and care of our members. He is the primary contact for anything fire department related for the past several years.

“I have the utmost respect for chief Kruger, but I believe Brad has been running the day-to-day operations.”

Barry Whitsell, the president and chief executive officer of Village Northwest Unlimited in Sheldon, also sent a long letter of recommendation for Hindt.

Other items on council’s agenda includes:

  • Approval of the plans and specs for the Seventh Avenue storm sewer improvement project and set the bid opening and public hearing for the meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21.
  • Approval of change order No. 4 for $80 and the final pay estimate of $36,834.65 for the downtown alleys and parking lot improvements.
  • Introduction of the updated capital improvement plans for the city departments.
  • Approval of the liquor license renewal for the Crossroads Travel Plaza.
  • Approval of the Urban Renewal report for the 2021-22 fiscal year.