Village administrator idea floated in Waldo

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

WALDO — At the Village Board meeting Monday night, Village President Dan Schneider shared some concerns he’s had.

Schneider said, “Two years ago, when the election for village president came up, no one wanted to do it.” Schneider had not then initially planned to run again for the position, but decided to do so when no one else stepped forward.

He also said he found it difficult to find candidates for board positions.

“Now, as I get ready to leave this seat, we are in the same situation again,” Schneider said. “We have no one willing to run for this office and, at this point, very low interest in the trustee positions. My concern with that is, in our current state with no one to take this seat, the opportunity for someone to take this position with a minimal number of votes is a reality.

“That leads me to bring up a village administrator position,” Schneider continued. Such a person “would hold a consistent thought process for years to come, not just two years for a president’s term or a board member’s term. Someone who’s going to take a longer view.”

Schneider saw this person taking the lead on the financial well-being of the village, and leading projects for the village and its utilities. As he envisioned the position, “Obviously, he reports to the board. The board has oversight of the administrator position. The administrator is responsible for dayto day operations. He would oversee and have the direct reports of village employees. [Clerk/Treasurer Michelle Brecht’s] duties would remain the same.”

Many current duties of the board would also stay the same.

“My biggest concern is, without the right people sitting at this board, things could go south in a hurry,” Schneider said. “There has to be qualified and conscious thought given to all of those decisions. I throw it out there to the board, and obviously to the public. I would like to hear everyone’s thoughts on how we make sure there is quality leadership at the board level, and quality decisionmaking financially.

“If we have very limited desire from our residents to do this job — and let’s be honest, it’s volunteer work; the pay you get, it’s not a job. I’m sure that has a lot to do with why there’s such limited interest. Plus, everybody’s busy.”

Trustee Dennis Reinemann asked if any other municipality the size of Waldo had such an administrator. None came to mind.

Schneider said he envisioned this position as part-time, with compensation of $2,400 per year. It would be a hired position, held as long as the person wanted it, and so long as the board was satisfied with performance.

Trustee Mike Hintz thought the position was needed. He thought it regrettable that so few residents were interested in serving on the board.

Trustee Mark Spitz thought the fact that board members receive negative feedback from residents was one reason so few people wanted the job.

Schneider revealed that he had a candidate in mind, and had already discussed it with him. It was Director of Public Works Bruce Neerhof.

The board and residents in the audience discussed the possible administrator position, the lack of people running for board positions, and whether having an administrator would encourage people to serve on the board.

The administrator topic will be on March’s agenda.

Other village business

Paul McMullen, representing the Cascade Fire Department, requested the use of the village’s Memorial Hall. The department plans a fundraising beanbag tournament to benefit Frank Arbuckle, who had his hand nearly severed in a work accident. (The hand was reattached at Froedtert Hospital, and Arbuckle has regained some use of it.)

Jim Parrish asked if the village would consider allowing 4-H youngsters to use village facilities to practice archery. He said about 50 kids, county-wide, could use a place to practice for the tri-county meet. Parrish asked the board to think about it, and put the request on March’s agenda.

Jack Parrish informed the board about plans that the Mill Pond Association had for making improvements, which include a sign and bench.

The board unanimously approved:

• A temporary liquor license for the Waldo Fire Dept. for their March 12 brat fry.

• A revised compensation package for Clerk/Treasurer Michelle Brecht. This is a full-time position for Brecht. Schneider pointed out that her compensation is still on the low side, when compared to similar positions in the area.

• Four requests for rental of village facilities. Besides the fundraiser for Frank Arbuckle, there will be a fundraiser for the Ryan Moyer family on March 5. Moyer is the Waldo firefighter who died recently in an accident.

Police report for January: Five citations (all for winter parking violations), totaling $100; 11 complaints investigated (five winter parking patrols; vehicle with a flat tire; three abandoned vehicles on private property; controlled burn; suspicious vehicle at business after hours); three warnings; eight property checks; no arrests made, traffic accidents investigated, court appearances or warrants.

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