Janesville59.8°

Darien moves closer to hiring village administrator

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Kayla Bunge
July 23, 2008
— The village now has two options for the future of its government come the end of the year: It can hire a clerk/treasurer or hire a village administrator.

The village board unanimously approved Monday night an ordinance to create the position of village administrator, which would combine the duties of clerk and treasurer with other responsibilities, including the day-to-day operations of village government, overseeing village employees and administering the village budget.


The village is considering hiring a village administrator at the recommendation of retiring Clerk/Treasurer Connie Machi, who is retiring at the end of the year.


Trustee Craig McCue was apprehensive at first, moving to dismiss the ordinance and fill the clerk/treasurer position at a comparatively lower cost.


“My question is if it’s been good for this long, how come it’s not good for this point forward?”


Village President Robert Metzner said the ordinance does not require the village to hire an administrator.


“It’s just another avenue to go,” he said.


The village is consulting with Public Administration Associates, an Oshkosh-based company that recruits candidates for positions in municipal government.


Trustee Robert Wenzel said the risk in searching for a potential village administrator is minimal because the village isn’t paying any up-front costs to the consulting firm. He said the village won’t be charged for consulting services if it chooses not to hire an administrator.


“I see no reason why we would not want to go ahead ... to see what we could turn up because there’d be no charge if we don’t place an administrator,” he said.


Wenzel said that before Machi was hired in 1992, the village went through three clerk/treasurers in just more than a year.


“The people who got into (the position) just found out they weren’t capable of handling it,” he said. “Being an administrator in government is a whole lot different than it was 15-20 years ago. It’s becoming more and more complicated every year.


“We need someone trained in administration.”


Metzner said he privately has received a couple of applications for the clerk/treasurer position, and at least one of the applicants is highly qualified. He said hiring a clerk/treasurer would cost “substantially less” than hiring a village administrator.


“The person I have has the background but is a clerk/treasurer,” he said.


In related business, Metzner requested ads for the clerk/treasurer position be placed in the Wisconsin State Journal and the monthly League of Wisconsin Municipalities publication to “get started and look at both ends of (filling the vacant position).”


Wenzel said the village should let the consulting firm recruit candidates for the village administrator position. He said he didn’t know if a clerk/treasurer would be enough to fulfill the duties of the position.


But Metzner said he’s certain the village could hire a clerk/treasurer with plenty of experience.


“That doesn’t mean we can’t place ads for the clerk/treasurer,” he said. “Because I’m thinking we’ll get someone for way less money.”


Wenzel said he wants to see a number of candidates, not just the couple from which Metzner has received applications.


“Maybe that’s the person we want to hire, but I want to see more than one person,” he said. “(The consulting firm) gets a bigger area than we do.”


Trustee Kurt Zipp asked if the company also could recruit qualified candidates for the clerk/treasurer position.


“That way we haven’t made a decision either way,” he said. “And then we can look at their recommendations.”


Metzner withdrew his request to place ads.


“We’ll let (the consulting firm) handle it,” he said.



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