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Mount Pleasant Wants Transparency, Checks/Balances for New Administrator

The Personnel Committee outlined a tentative job description for a new administrator.

The Village of Mount Pleasant is getting ready to look for a new administrator.

Whether or not the new Mount Pleasant Village Administrator retains that title remains to be seen, but the new job description going through review is being rewritten to reflect the need for transparency.

Personnel Committee members - Trustees Harry Manning and Sonny Havn with Village President Carolyn Milkie - with village staff read through a series of duties and responsibilities for the administrator position. Before the discussion got fully underway, Planning Director Ron Meyer, who is also part of the interim management team, voiced his opinion about the job.

"Hiring a new administrator will create the same issues if the job description is not changed," he said. "We need a position that is less autonomous with more checks-and-balances with department heads."

Further, Meyer stated, the village needs someone at the top who is more a funnel of information for departments and the Village Board.

Manning, chair of the committee, found several job descriptions from other municipalities and culled a few of them to put together a comprehensive list for Mount Pleasant.

"I just want to be sure we're covering as many things here as possible," he said.

Open communication, transparency, and checks-and-balances were key terms used repeatedly during the meeting as trustees and staff went through each bullet point. They eliminated whole pieces, added language and tweaked specific duties to reflect changes they think will help foster a team atmosphere, but also protect employees when problems do arise.

"We want interactive, open and honest dialogue," Milkie said.

Manning agreed.

"It's significant that this is a separate point because it means other municipalities have faced similar situations," he said. "We need to be sure the village remains a good place to work."

Trustee Gary Feest said he'd like to see a system where department heads can communicate more directly with the Village Board.

"It's so the Village Board isn't getting filtered information from the Administrator," he said. Feest is not a member of the committee but does attend meetings.

Meyer suggested a confidential peer review much like what takes place on college campuses.

"This way, the board hears the issues, it's done in confidence so there is no fear of reprisal, and it keeps the transparency we're all after," he said.

Some of the requirements the committee want listed in both the job description and the job ad are:

  • Bachelor's Degree in business, public administration, law or a related field, with an preference for a Master's Degree;
  • Minimum of five (5) years of managerial employment experience;
  • General account practices and principles;
  • Contract negotiations.

Salary for the position will range between $90,000 and $100,000, keeping in line with other Wisconsin communities. Howard, for example, is a village of 17,400 and pays its administrator between $92,000 and $100,000 per year.

Clerk/Treasurer Debra Salas will write the job ad for approval at the Oct. 6 committee meeting.

The job description will now go to department heads for their input and come back to the committee by the Oct. 6 meeting as well.

Former Village Administrator Mike Andreasen was terminated at the May 9 Village Board meeting without cause. Mount Pleasant is expected to pay out the terms of his contract to the family through February 2012, totaling about $59,000, according to The Journal Times. Andreasen passed away from a heart attack on June 1.

A new administrator could be in place by March 2012.

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