Interim administrator not being sought for Rhinelander
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Though the person hired as Rhinelander’s last city administrator was terminated from the position less than a year after she started, the city’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee wants to use the same firm that assisted in the search leading up to Kristina Aschenbrenner’s hiring.
Committee members decided Tuesday to contact Public Administration Associates, LLC, an Oshkosh-based firm, which they noted had agreed to conduct another search for a city administrator at no additional charge in the event the person who the City Council hired wasn’t still on the job after two years.
“We had a guarantee from the last firm, and I thought maybe we should start there, because…it’s going to cost us less money,” said committee member Sherrie Belliveau. “I was happy with the service they provided. I think they did an excellent job. I wouldn’t have a problem going back with them.”
Committee chairman Mark Pelletier said he would be willing to use the same hiring firm involved with the process that led to the selection of Aschenbrenner, who was one of four finalists from a field of 22 applicants.
“They put some damn good people out there (for consideration as city administrator),” said Pelletier, who also noted the City Council members “made what we thought was the best choice” by selecting Aschenbrenner.
Committee member Alex Young said he liked how Public Administration Associates involved other community leaders in the hiring process.
“I think the process last time was very good,” said Young, who also suggested thinking about what areas council members would want the next city administrator to focus on. “We’ll want to give that direction to whatever recruiter we hire, whether it’s Public Administration Associates or otherwise.”
In the absence of a city administrator for more than a month, day-to-day operations and ongoing projects have been overseen by the city’s employees and staff. Committee members agreed Tuesday not to seek an interim city administrator.
“I think that if we start this (hiring) process right away, I think we may be able to get by without an interim administrator,” Belliveau said. “I think we’re doing well. I think business is going on as usual. I can’t see the expense of hiring an interim administrator.”
Young said it would be difficult to find someone with the proper training and credentials who would want to be the city administrator on an interim basis.
“The only way it would work is if you had somebody who is retired, or something like that, that wanted to do it on a limited situation, which we had a perfect situation with (former city attorney Phil Parkinson),” he said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have that available to us at this particular time.”
Parkinson served as an interim city administrator, prior to Aschenbrenner’s hiring last year, after Blaine Oborn left and became the city administrator in Lake Geneva. However, current city attorney Carrie Miljevich said Parkinson wouldn’t be interested in doing that again.
“I asked about Round 2, and he said, ‘Never,’” Miljevich said.