Spencer Cronk, who has led the State Department of Administration since 2011, got the nod Tuesday as Mayor Betsy Hodges’ nominee for city coordinator.

Spencer Cronk is Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ nominee for city coordinator. Courtesy of the State Department of Administration

The coordinator oversees the city’s finance, human resources, information technology and communications departments. Also under the coordinator are such disparate services as animal control, emergency management and lobbying.

The Department of Administration has some similarities to the coordinator’s role in that it handles a variety of back-office functions for state government. It provides bulk purchasing, construction management and state employee workers compensation insurance, among other services.

Leaving a cabinet-level position at the state for one at the city might seem like a step down, but Cronk would manage almost 700 employees as city coordinator, up from 450 in his current job.

The coordinator job has a starting salary of $143,181 — a nice pay bump from the $119,517 Cronk earns now.

If confirmed by the city council, Cronk would succeed Paul Aasen, who left in May. Aasen also came to the city from state government, where he was the commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Four of the five people indicted in U.S. District Court earlier this year in an alleged gun straw purchasing conspiracy have pleaded guilty.  Last week, Keniko Bland, 20, pleaded guilty to illegally receiving a firearm. And earlier this month, Diontre Hill, 21, and Raheem Watkins, 21, both pleaded guilty to charges of being felons in possession of firearms.  Prosecutors say the men are gang members with criminal records which prohibit them from legally possessing guns.

Two women, 32-year-old Angela Carter and 29-year-old Jacquelyn Burnes, allegedly acted as “straw buyers” when they bought the guns for the three men. According to the indictments, Carter and Burnes lied when they filled out forms at gun stores because they claimed they were buying the guns for themselves.

Burnes pleaded guilty to one count of “false statement during purchase of a firearm.” Carter is scheduled to appear at a plea hearing later this week.   The maximum federal penalty for providing a gun to a felon is 10 years in prison.  Sentencing dates have not yet been set.

Does running for mayor of Minneapolis and coming in fourth place qualify you for a Wikipedia page? Local computer security researcher and occasional Wikipedian Anton Schieffer doesn’t think so.

Yesterday, Schieffer flagged for deletion a page dedicated to erstwhile mayoral candidate Cam Winton. He argues Winton isn’t “notable” enough to have his own page.

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Cam Winton. Jennifer Simonson/MPR News

“I don’t find losing a Minneapolis mayoral race very notable — in fact, over 30 people did that last year!” Schieffer wrote in response to questions from MPR News. “I hope someday Cam’s accomplishments merit a Wikipedia page, but he’s not quite there yet.”

Winton, who acknowledges the page was created by a friend to help with his campaign, disagrees.

“I don’t know how to say this without seeming self-serving,” he said. “But I meet the criteria for notability.”

Wikipedia’s guidelines say the subjects of articles need only have “received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.”

As the only Republican waging a credible campaign, Winton got more ink last year than just about any other candidate in the race. But that didn’t ultimately translate into electoral support. He topped out at 11 percent of the vote.

In spite of that drubbing, local media continue to quote him when they need a credible GOP perspective. Minneapolis has no Republicans in elected office.

Of the 35 candidates who sought the mayor’s office last year, only three others have Wikipedia pages: Mayor Betsy Hodges, Former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew and former City Council Member Dan Cohen. Cohen is more notable for his 1991 U.S. Supreme Court victory against the Star Tribune than his 2 percent showing in the mayor’s race.

Winton today took steps to preserve his page, which would have been deleted after a week if he hadn’t. In the process, he made a few additions, including his birthday and links to articles demonstrating his notability.

He also briefly changed a photo caption identifying him as “a gray-haired middle-aged man,” but changed it back after complaints the edit presented a conflict of interest.

“I’m not middle-aged,” Winton said in his defense. “I’m 35 years old.”