Finance Committee backs hiring process for new city administrator
Applications to be accepted for four weeks
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Beginning the process to hire a new city administrator received the backing Tuesday from Rhinelander’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee.
Committee members heard from Stephen Hintz of the Oshkosh-based Public Administration Associates, the firm that the city has once again obtained the recruiting services after the City Council voted 6-2 last August to terminate the contract of the previous city administrator, Kristina Aschenbrenner, who was on the job for not quite a year.
Hintz presented committee members with a job posting that he noted could be advertised in various places both in Wisconsin and out of state.
“The reason that it’s important to put it there is not so much to attract people from California,” he said. “It’s really to tell people who grew up in Wisconsin, and maybe even grown up in Rhinelander, and are looking for a reason to come back home.”
The posting backed by the committee calls for an annual salary of $85,000 to $95,000 plus benefits, depending upon the qualifications. Candidates for city administrator will be directed to apply to Public Administration Associates with a deadline of Feb. 11. Though a bachelor’s degree is required, the posting states a preference for a master’s degree with at least five years of municipal experience.
In addition to posting the job notice, Hintz said Public Administration Associates would also make “an awful lot of personal contacts” to recruit people for Rhinelander’s city administrator.
Aschenbrenner, who had been part of the previous hiring process Public Administration Associates was involved in for Rhinelander’s city administrator, received an annual salary of $85,000 before being voted out of that job.
In response to a question by committee member Alex Young as to whether the salary range should be above $95,000 to be able to attract someone the council would want to be the next city administrator, Hintz said if salary was the only factor, it should be higher, but also noted “$95,000 – that’s a nice salary.”
Hintz pointed out that instead of raising the salary above $95,000, an applicant the council would want to hire might be interested in additional vacation time rather than more money.
Once the application deadline passes, Hintz suggested the committee meet next month to go over the applications to reduce the field of candidates to 8-10 semifinalists. He said he would then contact those remaining candidates for references and background checks, as well as have them make electronic presentations.
Among the semifinalists, Hintz suggested selecting from three to five for interviews. He said the finalists could then be involved sometime in March in a “meet and greet” with members of the community on a Friday, when a tour of a city and contacts with city staff could take place, followed by formal interviews with the council the following morning on a Saturday.
“The staff knows that they don’t make the choice (as to who is hired as city administrator,” Hintz said. “The council makes the choice, but the council really could stand input from the staff.”