Milton begins negotiating with finalist

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October 7, 2010
— Jesse Thyes or Jerry Schuetz?

The man from the village of Brown Deer, or Milton's police chief?

Which candidate did the Milton City Council pick to be the city's next administrator?

Officials still weren't saying Wednesday, although the council decided in closed session late Tuesday to begin contract negotiations with one of the candidates.

Officials have not named the candidate tapped for the hire, pending negotiations and the council and the candidate agreeing to terms of the contract.

If the candidate agrees to the proposed contract, "we'll be working it up in draft form, and the council will take formal action on the contract in open session," said former City Administrator Todd Schmidt.

Schmidt agreed to help the city recruit his replacement after he resigned in August to take a job as village administrator at Waunakee.

Schmidt said the council could be ready to vote on the contract later this week, but Wednesday afternoon City Clerk Nancy Zastrow said no further meetings on the hiring decision were scheduled.

Thyes, who is assistant village manager in Brown Deer, said Schmidt had called him Wednesday, telling him the council wanted to begin contract negotiations with one of the candidates.

Thyes would not say whether he was the candidate entering negotiations with the city.

Schuetz, who has been police chief of Milton since 2008, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The two finalists were chosen from a pool of four interviewed by the council and city staff last week. The council was split Friday, with half favoring Schuetz and half favoring Thyes.

City ordinance requires a two-thirds vote to offer someone a contract, officials said.

To break the deadlock, the council on Tuesday evening gave Schuetz and Thyes a matching set of work scenarios and asked how they'd respond.

Alderman Brett Frazier said even after those interviews, the council remained in a 3-3 tie on the hiring decision, even as late at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The council finally reached a consensus in a straw poll during a closed session late Tuesday, Mayor Tom Chesmore said.

Chesmore said he did not vote and would say only that the council's decision to start contract negotiations with a candidate was not unanimous.

Alderman Robert McLinn said the council has been handling the hiring decision in closed session and is withholding the name of the finalist as a courtesy to both candidates.

"I appreciate what (information) the local public wants, but there's always what's best for the families involved," he said.

If current contract talks fall through, Schmidt said, the council could offer the administrator job to the runner-up candidate, but the move would involve a separate discussion by the council.

The council is approved to spend up to $80,000 on salary for the next city administrator.

If Schuetz is offered the position and accepts it, the city will have to find a new police chief.

David Ostrowski, chairman of the city's police commission, said the commission would launch an open recruitment process if Schuetz vacates the position of police chief.

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