Four candidates are set to interview for Evansville administrator job

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Gina Duwe
Monday, July 14, 2014

EVANSVILLE--Three men with municipal experience in southeastern Wisconsin and one Iowa man are finalists for Evansville's open city administrator/finance director position.

The city council will interview the candidates Friday and Saturday.

“We're interviewing for essentially what's a new job, so we need to make sure we've got the right person to do both jobs--financial projections and personnel side of it,” council President Jim Brooks said.

Former City Administrator Dan Wietecha left in spring for a similar position in Michigan, and the council has revised job descriptions to combine the top city job with the finance director's position.

The candidates will spend Friday meeting with department heads and city staff and then meet informally with the city council Friday night at Creekside Place. The council will meet at 7:45 a.m. Saturday to finalize questions and then interview the candidates from 8 a.m. to noon.

Council members will break for lunch and then begin deliberations, hoping to pick  someone that day, Brooks said.

“I'm hoping one or two pop out early,” he said.

Stephen Hintz of Public Administration Associates in Oshkosh, the recruiting company the city hired, provided the following info on the four candidates:

--Stephen Compton, city manager in Colton, California. He also is a former finance director and previous administrator in the Wisconsin communities of Sturtevant and Richland Center.

He has bachelor's and a master's degrees from University of Redlands, California.

--Patrick DeGrave, previous village manager in Whitefish Bay. He previously was the city administrator in Oak Creek, village administrator in Slinger and town administrator in Menasha and Mount Pleasant.

He has a bachelor's degree from Concordia University, master's degree from Cardinal Stritch College and a doctorate of business administration from Kennedy Western University.

--David Ehlinger, fiscal operations manager for the Milwaukee County Court System. He  was the finance director in Jefferson County from 2001-2012, has private sector experience and is a certified public accountant.

He has a bachelor's degree from UW-Whitewater.

--Patrick Ian Rigg, city manager in Eldora, Iowa, since 2008.

He has a bachelor's degree from Augustana College and a master's degree from Northern Illinois University.

Public Administration Associates recommended the finalists after reviewing applications, which included a four-question video, Brooks said.

The council also used Public Administration Associates to hire Wietecha.

Wietecha's salary was a little more than $72,000, Mayor Sandy Decker said, and the range for the new position is $75,000 to $85,000, with additional responsibilities.

Wietecha told the council in December 2011 he planned to begin a job search, and when the city's finance director left in 2012, it gave the council a chance to reorganize administrative staff, Brooks said.

The city created a community development director to have a single development contact. By combining the city administrator and finance director position, the city eliminated the contracted planner position, Brooks said.

“We were able to save enough money to really create an important new position for the town and shore up the city administrator position,” he said. “It's a move that a lot of communities have looked at and is becoming more common.”

Nicole Sidoff was hired in January 2013 as community development director, but she recently resigned. Officials last week interviewed three out-of-state candidates to fill the position, Decker said.

City officials are checking references now, and Decker said she hopes to finalize that hiring this week. 

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