WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Some Wausau City Council members felt the city should not rush to fill the Director of Public Works & Utilities post vacated by Bradley Marquardt.
Finance Committee Chairman Keene Winters was one that wanted to make sure Mayor Jim Tipple’s executive branch didn’t rush to hire Marquardt’s replacement. He says that’s why their Tuesday agenda had an item to delete funding for the Director of Public Works. Winters says, “We found that the administration was moving ahead very quickly to fill that position, and we are at a time when we need to pause, look at our organizational structure, see what’s going on, and then decide who we’re going to hire, if we’re going to bring in an interim administrator, or someone to help us decide what our organizational structure should be.”
Winters says in order to give the city time to evaluate the operations and what is really needed, they were prepared to pull funds from the budget. “We had had a discussion, and the executive branch said well, it’s in the budget, we’ll fill it anyhow, and so we had to threaten to take it out of the budget to get a gentleman’s agreement that we could all sit down and have a strategic planning session before the position is filled.”
Winters agreed to pull the budget cut from the Finance Committee agenda when Council President Romy Wagner agreed to call a Committee of the Whole meeting yet this month to allow for full City Council consideration of the funding, and the future direction of the Public Works department.“We need to take a look at whether we need to bring in an interim administrator, and make the Department of Public Works Director reportable to the administrator, rather than have someone in that position again who can only be fired by a three-quarters vote of the council. That’s created an accountability problem that we need to explore.”
Mayor Jim Tipple and Council member Lisa Rasmussen spoke out against defunding the position. All agreed the city’s operations need to be reviewed.
Wausau’s Public Works Director position has not yet been posted.