Town of Beloit administrator to focus on planning first
Brian Wilson brings 16 years experience in city government to his new job as town administrator. He most recently served as administrator of Milan, Mo., population 2,000.
The town board hired Wilson in November, but he didn't start work until the end of January because he wanted to meet his obligations in Missouri.
Wilson replaces former Town Administrator Bob Museus, who resigned in July.
Here are a few questions and answers with Wilson:
Q: After getting acquainted with the town, what will you focus on?
A: "Part of it is going to be developing a strategic plan with the board. We're going to decide what the priorities are going to be. Some of the priorities are dictated by agreements in place … Other things in the future beyond that will be just seeing, for example, how do we fit into future developments in the area as a whole," he said.
For example, if the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce is looking at primarily downtown Beloit, the township is still part of several corridors that lead into the city, he said.
"I think those are probably areas where we can … match our efforts to what is going on with the other bigger players around us and try to see what we can do to maximize our own potential with some of those," he said.
A proposed Inman Parkway expansion could have positive or negative impacts on the township, he said.
"There's a lot of things to look at," he said.
Q: The town has talked about incorporation. Do you plan to move the idea forward?
A: "I don't really have any guidance on that yet from the board. I know that it's been looked at in the past. I know that there's been a discussion. I know that there's pros and cons to it. I have done some research myself on it, but I don't know exactly what the board was advised before," he said. "Is it a priority to me necessarily? I don't know yet. It's going to depend on what the board wants to do with that."
Q: How do you help the town move forward after a series of lawsuits revolving around the former police chief and administrator?
A: Police Chief Steve Kopp has helped the town move beyond a lot of that, he said. From what Wilson has observed, the police department has opened itself up again to working with other regional agencies.
"I think that's a good, positive step right there that was already in place before I got here. I think what I will do to continue that is I will support the police chief," he said.
A lot of town responsibilities have been delegated at many regional meetings, he said.
"I think I'm going to be taking the lead on all of that stuff. I want to be able to coordinate and represent the best interests of the town of Beloit both within the community and about.
"My intention is to be reachable and attainable. I'm pretty easy to get along with."
Q: What attracted you to the job in Beloit Township?
A: Wilson grew up in rural southeastern Missouri, started his career in St. Louis and moved into management in a "very" rural area of Missouri.
The Milan, Mo., area is typical small-town America, but in some ways "kind of a culture shock" because the nearest big box shopping is almost an hour away. Wilson said he likes small-town life, but he also enjoys the amenities of a bigger area. That's what attracted him here.
"This whole region is a good place for that—especially the town of Beloit. It's within a stone's throw of anything you need, and it itself has got a mix of urban and rural," Wilson said. "I think it's a good place to be. It's a good school district."
ABOUT BRIAN WILSON
Family: Wife, Mary Jo; a set of twins—a boy and girl—who are high school seniors, and a daughter in eighth grade.
Last job: Administrator of Milan, Mo., population 2,000.
In his free time: "When I'm not in the office on the weekend, I …," he said laughing. His family likes to plan and take a big vacation every couple of years. Last Christmas, the family went on a Caribbean cruise.
Wilson also likes to read about science and technology, tinker on computers and play the newest video game with his kids.
On having the same name as a member of the Beach Boys: Wilson says he hasn't been hassled about it since college, when his usual response was, "You're old enough to know?" the band member.