At least four Janesville city department heads will retire this year

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Marcia Nelesen
Saturday, January 18, 2014

JANESVILLE--At least three, likely four and possibly five Janesville city department heads plan to retire this year, but city officials say residents should not worry about lapses in service.

Newly hired City Manager Mark Freitag said he was briefed about the possible upcoming retirements when he arrived. Freitag started here Dec. 2.

Freitag said he will “plan accordingly to minimize gaps between departing and arriving senior leaders.”

As they announce their retirements, “we have to make sure that we look both internally and through the hiring system that we use” to replace them, Freitag said.

“We've got quality folks and staff,” Freitag said.

Freitag said he is aware of five department or division directors who have said they likely will retire, but he declined to name them until the employees made it official.

Those who have told The Gazette they intend to retire are:

-- Carl Weber, director of public works. He will retire sometime when the weather warms, he said. Weber came to Janesville in 2010, and this would be his second retirement. He previously was public works director for Green Bay and DePere, city engineer for Waukegan, Ill., and a design engineer for Racine.

-- Dave Mumma, transit director. Mumma said he will retire sometime in 2014, likely after the new bus center opens. Mumma has been transit director for 35 years. Rebecca Smith, who most recently worked in the city manager's office, was named assistant transit director in November. She assumed a position formerly occupied by Mike Gensler, who retired for health reasons.

-- Patty Lynch, the city's comptroller for 15 years, will retire Aug. 1. She started working for the city in 1989 as an accountant, was named accounting manager in 1999 and comptroller in 2007.

A fourth department head told The Gazette he likely will retire, but he was not yet ready to announce his retirement.

Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Luiting retired in December after 34 years with the fire department. He served as deputy chief since 2002.

Freitag said assistants or deputies can step up to serve as acting division heads to cover any openings until head positions are filled.

“With the folks that are on board, we'll be able to cover any gaps,” Freitag said.

“I've got these amazing folks who work for me, who I rely on for experience, advice and suggestions,” he said.

New people can bring new perspectives, which is good, as well, Freitag said.

Council President Kathy Voskuil said she had no concern the departures would hurt the city because of the experienced team of individuals who will remain.

The majority of the individuals retiring have been leading their departments for many years and worked with other members of their teams for many years, she said.

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