You are the owner of this page.
A3 A3
Government
top story
Janesville City Council develops more ‘focused’ city manager evaluation

JANESVILLE

The Janesville City Council on Thursday changed the way it will evaluate the city manager this year in the hope the process will be more organized than in the past.

The council next month will use the eight essential duties listed in the city manager’s job description to evaluate his performance. The council also will create a work team to review the process and refine it as necessary to set a framework for future councils.

Since City Manager Mark Freitag started in December 2013, the council has lacked an established process to review his performance.

In 2015, some council members proposed incorporating anonymous employee feedback into Freitag’s review because they felt unqualified to evaluate his management capabilities. That idea was scrapped for an employee engagement survey that provided feedback on workplace culture on a broader scale.

During his December 2016 review, concerns raised in the survey about Freitag weren’t mentioned. Instead, as they had for years, council members filled out written forms evaluating Freitag in several categories on a 1-to-10 scale.

“The previous three (evaluations) have been all over the board,” said council Vice President Rich Gruber.

Last summer, the council scrapped previous methods in favor of evaluating Freitag as a body instead of individually. Members agreed to evaluate him in March instead of December, so council members elected in April would have a full year to work with him before reviewing him.

Freitag agreed with both ideas.

The four council members who attended Thursday’s meeting unanimously set the process for this year.

On Monday, March 12, the council will hold a closed session, part of it with Freitag, to discuss how well he has met his eight essential duties. Council members will keep notes to themselves to avoid making them public records.

In the past, individual feedback was given to the city’s human resources director, making it public record. By avoiding that, council members’ critiques and praise won’t be available to the public before they’re finalized in a letter to Freitag, members said.

“I’m 1,000 percent in favor of full transparency,” Gruber said. “But I’m also tempered in my recognition that whatever we do in this particular case is something that is not only subject to the scrutiny of the seven members of the city council and the city manager … but the community at large.”

Council President Doug Marklein and Gruber will use feedback from the March 12 meeting to draft a letter evaluating Freitag’s performance.

On Monday, March 26, the council will meet again in closed session to finalize the letter, which then will be presented to Freitag. The council also will set any salary increases at that meeting.

Freitag will have an opportunity later to formally respond to the written evaluation.

“And that’s been done historically,” Gruber said.

Gruber said evaluating Freitag as a body rather than individually is an improvement over past evaluations.

“It’s certainly more focused,” he said. “It tends to take the personalities out of the process.”

After establishing the process, Council member Sue Conley made a motion to create a work team to document the city manager evaluation process going forward.

“I want something to help future councils navigate through this,” Conley said.

After some pushback from other members, the council voted 4-0 in favor.

Marklein and council members Paul Williams and Jens Jorgensen were absent.


Community_briefs
Grant applications available for the Marion J. and Robert C. Lietz Fund

JANESVILLE

Applications are now being accepted for grants from the Marion J. and Robert C. Lietz Fund, a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, to support the arts in Janesville.

Preference may be given to initiatives that support live musical performances.

Nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Grant requests from individuals will not be considered.

The application deadline is Thursday, March 1.

The Marion J. and Robert C. Lietz Fund application is available at cfsw.org under the Grant/Grants Available tab. For more information, call Jane Maldonis at 608-758-0883.


Local
Intersection of Vincent Road and Highway 59 closes for domestic incident

TOWN OF MILTON

The intersection of Highway 59 and Vincent Road was closed for 90 minutes Thursday after Rock County sheriff's deputies responded to a domestic incident.

Deputies responded to the 2200 block of East Vincent Road at 8:54 a.m. Thursday, said sheriff's Capt. Todd Christiansen.

A woman at the residence exited the building, Christiansen said, and deputies continued to try to contact a man who was inside.

Deputies later entered the residence and found the man sleeping or passed out, Christiansen said. He believes alcohol was involved.

The 32-year old man was escorted out without incident and arrested on charges of domestic violence, disorderly conduct and bail jumping.

The area was cleared at 10:34 a.m.


Local
Local briefs for Feb. 9, 2018

Fire causes ‘severe damage’ to home

JANESVILLE—A fire caused “severe damage” Thursday night to a Janesville home on Lexington Drive, said Janesville Fire Department Battalion Chief Ron Bomkamp.

The two-car garage for the home at 1913 N. Lexington Drive was “pretty much lost,” Bomkamp said. The fire started in the garage and spread to the house.

The fire was called in at about 6:41 p.m. Thursday. Bomkamp did not have any cost estimates for the damage at about 9 p.m. He said the fire department still had people working on scene.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, Bomkamp said, although he noted there was a space heater in the garage.

The fire’s origin was not suspicious, he said.

Domestic incident closes Highway 59

TOWN OF MILTON—The intersection of Highway 59 and Vincent Road was closed for 90 minutes Thursday after Rock County sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic incident.

Deputies responded to the 2200 block of East Vincent Road at 8:54 a.m. Thursday, said sheriff’s Capt. Todd Christiansen.

A woman at the residence exited the building, Christiansen said, and deputies continued to try to contact a man who was inside.

Deputies later entered the residence and found the man sleeping or passed out, Christiansen said. He believes alcohol was involved. The 32-year old man was escorted out without incident and arrested on charges of domestic violence, disorderly conduct and bail jumping. The area was cleared at 10:34 a.m.

Man arrested on charges related to thefts

EDGERTON—A 34-year-old Edgerton man was arrested Wednesday on charges related to several motor vehicle thefts and burglaries, police said.

Matthew J. Stout was arrested after Edgerton police executed a search warrant at his residence, 709 W. Fulton St. Police were looking for evidence related to a series of thefts and collected several items as part of their investigation, according to a news release.

Stout faces two counts of burglary, five counts of criminal damage to property and six counts of theft of moveable property, according to the release. He is being held at the Rock County Jail, and the investigation is ongoing.

Mount Zion Avenue closed next week

JANESVILLE—Mount Zion Avenue will be closed under Interstate 90/39 from 7 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, through late Thursday, Feb. 15, according to a state Department of Transportation news release.

Crews will remove and replace the old northbound overpass over Mount Zion as part of the I-90/39 expansion project. Motorists will have to use alternate routes during the work.

Visit i39-90.wi.gov or facebook.com/wisconsini3990project for more information.


Matthew Stout