Mayor: Milton city administrator to resign, take Milton School District position

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Andrea Behling
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MILTON—Jerry Schuetz will resign as city administrator despite Mayor Brett Frazier's pleas to reconsider.

Schuetz has accepted a job with the Milton School District as a communications supervisor. He will turn in his resignation at a special common council meeting Friday, Schuetz confirmed Tuesday.

It was a decision made for personal and professional reasons, he said.

The demands of being city administrator, including long hours and night meetings, took a toll on his family, Schuetz said.

After the school district opportunity presented itself, Schuetz had a lengthy discussion with his wife and three children. He decided it was “too good to pass up.”

The school district position provides a better work/home balance, he said.

“Although we'll miss Jerry, we accept his decision in the best interest of his family and career development,” Frazier said.

Schuetz has been city administrator since 2010. Before that he served two years as the city's police chief.

His last day as city administrator will be Aug. 9, according to a news release sent from Superintendent Tim Schigur to district staff Tuesday night.

Schuetz told Frazier late last week about the job offer from the district, but said he was unsure of what he would decide, Frazier said.

The news came as a shock, Frazier said.

“I usually stay pretty well addressed about job openings, even in other communities," Frazier said. "I did not consider that this would be one of those competing positions."

Over the weekend, Frazier talked with Schuetz and asked him to reconsider. Frazier asked council members Don Vruwink and David Adams to place calls to Schuetz to reiterate his point.

Schuetz confirmed his decision Sunday to accept the job offer, Frazier said.

“His mind was made up. The wheels were set in motion,” Frazier said.

Schuetz learned of the district opening in late May, but said he was not actively searching for jobs. He went through two rounds of interviews, the first on June 30 and the second on July 2. He was conditionally offered the job after the second interview.

After being given a $5,000 per year merit increase, Schuetz's salary as city administrator is $87,700 per year, Frazier said. The district position pays $82,000 annually.

“It's clear to me that money was not the issue,” Frazier said.

The process to replace Schuetz has started, and the city will act “quickly and responsibly” in filling the position, Frazier said.

The situation provides an opportunity to revisit the employment structure at City Hall and recruitment for a finance position that has been vacant for a few months, Frazier said.

The discussion regarding the structure oat City Hall will include talks about making jobs more accommodating in regard to scheduling and work loads, Frazier said. This was something Frazier felt strongly about, since that was one of the main reasons for Schuetz's departure, he said.

“We want to make sure these positions work for employees and get to the goals the council has for growth and community service,” Frazier said.

The special council meeting is at 2 p.m. Friday.

One drawback to the city administrator post is that it is a generalist position, Frazier said. A lot of responsibility falls on the plate of that person.

“It is no wonder that across the state these are generally three to five year positions,” Frazier said.

Frazier touts Schuetz's service during a tumultuous time dealing with the effects stemming from the recession. The city lost a significant amount of equalized value and the state kept sending unfounded mandates, he said.

“His leadership over a very short time period is something we'll forever be grateful for,” Frazier said.

But the good that is happening in the city of Milton is bigger than the efforts of a single administrator, he said.

“It's a culture of a community that does that,” Frazier said.

Schuetz said being Milton's city administrator has been a fun, exciting experience, but he is excited about his new position.

"(City of Milton officials') commitment to the community and moving Milton forward has made leading and managing within this great organization one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career to date," Schuetz said in a statement.

Having three children in the school district and his leadership roles in the community, Schuetz said he's seen firsthand what's gone on in the district. He said he looks forward to becoming a part of that process.

The selection process was "deliberately challenging and filled with many highly qualified candidates," according to Schigur's news release to district staff.

"The selection committee should be commended on it's professionalism and commitment to finding the best candidate for this position," Schigur said in an email to staff.


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