City administrator search on hold
Matter referred back to finance committee
BY KEVIN BONESKE
After more than four months being without a city administrator, the Rhinelander City Council has put the brakes on looking for someone to fill the position on a full-time basis for the time being.
Council members decided at Monday’s meeting to hold off on approving a job description, position announcement and recruitment/hiring process timeline in favor of referring the matter back to the Finance, Wage and Salary Committee, which could consider possibly hiring a part-time city administrator instead.
The city has obtained the recruiting services of the Oshkosh-based Public Administration Associates in a search for a new city administrator. The firm had also been involved in the hiring process that led up to the council’s selection of the previous administrator, Kristina Aschenbrenner, who the council voted 6-2 to terminate the contract of last August after she had been on the job for not quite a year.
A job posting Public Administration Associates drafted calls for the next city administrator to receive an annual salary of between $85,000 and $95,000 plus benefits, depending upon experience. Had the full council approved the hiring process the firm proposed and the Finance Committee also backed at its Jan. 3 meeting, applications would have begun to be accepted as of Jan. 10 with the deadline to apply being Feb. 11.
However, council members held off doing that after hearing from someone who offered to be the city administrator on a part-time basis, Keith Kost, a retired attorney who began his law practice in Rhinelander in 1997 after practicing law in Illinois.
“This can be a part-time job,” said Kost, who noted the city administrator is responsible for carrying out the policy approved by the city council and Rhinelander wouldn’t need someone working full-time with an annual salary of $95,000.
“I think Keith could be a good city administrator… it probably would have been nice if we would have had Keith here a few months ago,” said council member Alex Young. “We could have used him as an interim or part-time (administrator) probably.”
Finance Committee chairman Mark Pelletier agreed to have Kost attend the next committee meeting to provide specific details at to what he would plan to do as a part-time city administrator.