By Rich Palzewic
SEYMOUR – The City of Seymour is looking to add a part-time administrator to its staff.
Seymour Mayor Ryan Kraft brought the topic forward at the Monday, Jan. 11, council meeting.
With the city’s former deputy clerk, Kelly Gerrits, recently accepting a different job with Outagamie County, there’s a vacancy in the clerk’s office.
“I’ve spent time discussing this with our clerk-treasurer, Lori Thiel,” Kraft said. “Should we simply replace Kelly’s position, or is this an opportunity to hit the pause button and look at other options?”
Kraft said he doesn’t believe Seymour is a large enough municipality to require a full-time administrator.
“We don’t have enough economic development – commercial or residential – and other things going on to say we need a full-time administrator, a clerk-treasurer, a deputy clerk and part-time help in the clerk’s office,” he said. “I think that would be overkill and strain the budget. We think it makes more sense to combine some of the roles into one.”
Kraft said the new role would be a combined part-time clerk, treasurer and administrator position.
“This would allow us to still have a full-time deputy clerk position and retain part-time health,” he said. “This would be a blended role.”
Kraft asked the council to look at different requirements they’d like to see in the job description.
“This will help drive what we’re looking for,” he said. “If most of the council members would like someone strong in economic development, that would be in the job description. I don’t want to post a position without feedback from the council on what you think are the most important requirements.”
Kraft said he proposes Thiel be moved laterally to the deputy clerk position.
“Lori is our clerk-treasurer, but over the years, she’s been taxed with duties that an administrator should be doing, because we don’t have one in the city,” he said. “Should a clerk-treasurer be doing that? Probably not. It takes away from other things she should be doing and gets hectic during elections and budget time. Lori has been phenomenal at what she does for many years. This is a strategic effort to position the city for long-term success.”
Thiel said with thoughts of retiring in three years, it would make sense for her to move to the deputy clerk role soon and hire a new clerk-treasurer-administrator for the long-term role.
“I don’t intend to apply for the new position being created,” she said. “We’ll have to do some training for sure. There are many municipalities in the state that have combined roles – they do what’s needed to get the job done.”
The council discussed whether there would be enough quality candidates in the area to fill such a role.
“I’m guessing there’s not a whole lot of people who have all the necessary credentials we’ll be looking for,” said Alder Roger Behnke. “Maybe there will be someone looking to move into a smaller community – someone who has some exposure, but is looking at more of a starter position. I like the idea.”
As for salary, nothing was set, but Kraft said because this would be a blended position, there’s not a lot of comparables out there.
“We are competitive with our clerk-treasurer salary, so maybe we’d add 10 or 15 percent because of the additional administrator duties,” he said. “Maybe if the person adds a tremendous amount of value and things take off, we could revisit the salary in the future. Maybe it becomes a full-time position eventually, but we don’t want to start that way. It would be a significant challenge to bring in a full-time administrator budget-wise this year.”
No action was taken, but Kraft said the idea would have to go to the personnel and finance committees.
“We’d like to have the new role filled by sometime in the middle of this year,” he said.