City employee enjoys her brief mayoral reign

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 9, 2003

Thanks to April Graban, Austin Mayor Bonnie Rietz had the day off Wednesday.

That's because Graban was Austin's Mayor for a Day.

"April did a fine job," said the "other" mayor. "She chose to spend time with various department heads and other city employees."

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Graban was one of the Austin city employees to enter their name in a drawing held in conjunction with the 2002 United Way of Mower County, Inc. fund drive.

Rietz suggested the drawing six years ago as a means to induce city employees to participate in the United Way campaign.

Graban and Rietz then planned the winner's day as the city's mayor.

Jeanne Howatt, city administrative assistant, briefed Graban to start Wednesday's agenda.

Next was a tour of Riverside and Packer arenas with Dennis Maschka, director of the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

A brief visit to the Austin Public Library, where Graban works as a library assistant, was followed by a tour of the Austin-Mower County Law Enforcement Center with Police Chief Paul M. Philipp.

Then came lunch with the mayor at Tolly's Time Out Lounge followed by a tour of the Austin Fire Station with Fire Chief Dan Wilson and finally a visit with City Attorney David Hoversten.

"I enjoyed everything I saw," Graban said at the day's end. "I learned a lot."

Graban and her husband, Jamie, have two children. She was accompanied on Wednesday's itinerary by her mother, Vicki Steen, of Blue Earth.

Steen called the experience "very educational."

Mother and daughter both praised Philipp with "having all the right answers to our questions."

Graban said Wilson gave the most thorough tour of a city department.

According to Graban, the favorite parts of the tour were visiting the arenas, the law enforcement center and the fire department.

Later this year, Rietz will spend a day working for another city employee, who won a similar promotion: Officer Steve Wald, a K-9 officer in the Austin Police Department.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at