After a 20-year Air Force career, Chris Grindland returned to Peterson. He bought his childhood home from his parents, and continued with the work of raising his family.

With a population of 198, the city needs people to get involved, and Grindland was willing. He ran for the city council and was elected in 2016. A week later, the clerk resigned. Grindland saw he could have a bigger impact in that position, and applied. He was hired for the job a week after he was elected.

He jokes that his career as an elected official is probably the shortest ever.

He is paid for 20 hours a week as clerk. The city office is open Wednesday afternoons. How many hours Grindland works is a different matter—a mandate is a mandate and the Legislature makes little distinction from one city to another. And, of course, everybody in town knows where to find him.

He had help the day MMUA visited—daughter Emma. Time was short—Gammel Dag Fest (celebrating the city’s Norwegian heritage) was that weekend. There was a lot to take care of. Still, you couldn’t help but get the impression that Grindland was about as happy as a man could be.

The southeastern Minnesota city is located between bluffs and the Root River. It is named after Peter Peterson Haselrud, who no doubt found it a beautiful location to settle. The city once served as a stop on the Southern Minnesota Railroad. The depot has been restored and now serves as a museum and genealogy center. The rail bed now serves as a popular bike trail.

The city also employs a part-time public works person, who oversees the water and sewer plants and pipes. Tri-County Electric takes care of the electric distribution system. The city is considering a new automated metering system, which would also potentially simplify utility billing.

The city also operates an RV Campground.