BY KEVIN BONESKE
The search is on to replace two employees who will be leaving this month at Rhinelander City Hall.
The City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the hiring of a new finance director/treasurer and also an administrative assistant for the city administrator.
The current finance director, Julie Ostrander, is leaving May 12 after 8 ½ years working for the city to begin a position May 30 in Lodi in south central Wisconsin as the director of administration, a position for which she will be responsible for overseeing all the people at City Hall.
“She had a chance to move up and I’m happy for her,” said alderman Mark Pelletier, who chairs the city’s Finance Committee. “Obviously, we have another position to fill.”
Pelletier said “it’s going to be hard going into budget time this year without (Ostrander’s) knowledge.”
“The last couple of years she’s really, really come on, where she’s brought a lot of ideas forward that came above and beyond what many of the alderpersons had thrown on the table, and that is going to be hard to match,” he said.
Interim city administrator Keith Kost, who recommended posting the finance director vacancy both internally and externally, had stated to the Finance Committee had he hoped the position could be filled in June to avoid a problem with the budget process.
Council members approved filling the upcoming finance director vacancy with the position offered at an annual salary range of $63,002 to $68,411. Ostrander’s salary for this year was set at $68,307.
Mayor Dick Johns read from a prepared statement praising Ostrander for her years of service to the city of Rhinelander, noting she “was a great asset to the city, and will be missed by many.”
“Julie has been a very dedicated and organized employee, always working to streamline and make improvements to the Finance Department,” Johns said. “She was instrumental in reorganizing and streamlining many processes, including the accounts payable. Because the Finance Department is a ‘behind-the-scenes’ support department, many of her work and efforts have gone unnoticed, but are greatly appreciated.”
Kathy Johnson is retiring as the city administrator’s administrative assistant after five years of employment with the city, effective the Friday before Memorial Day.
Pelletier said Johnson “is going to be hard to replace,” noting he hopes someone could be found to fill the position a couple of days before she leaves.
“Besides being a secretarial assistant, (the person hired to replace Johnson) can learn a few tricks of the trade that she can teach,” Pelletier said. “It will be sad to see her go, but happy to see her to be able to retire.”
Council members approved hiring someone to fill the position with an annual salary range of $31,687 to $35,158.
Johns said Johnson has been a key city employee, “not only in the city administrator’s office, but also in assisting the clerk’s office with various duties daily.”
“She has been a joy to work with, and her smiling face made residents feel very welcome when they came in to City Hall,” Johns said. “She will be missed very much, and we wish her the best in her retirement.”
PPHC LEAD PERSON
The city is also looking to hire a new lead person in charge of the Pioneer Park Historical Complex, which opens from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Aprelle Rawski resigned from the position.
Council members approved offering the position, which is paid for with room tax funds, at a salary of $12 an hour, an increase of $2 an hour.