Council approves firm for city administrator search
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The Rhinelander City Council will use the same firm it previously did in a search for a new city administrator.
At Thursday’s special meeting, the council approved the Oshkosh-based Public Administration Associates as a recruitment consultant. The council’s motion authorized spending $7,000 plus costs such as mileage, travel costs, etc. The recruitment will be overseen by PAA partner Stephen Hintz.
Rhinelander has been without a city administrator since late August when the council voted 6-2 to terminate the contract of Kristina Aschenbrenner, who had been in the job for not quite a year.
PAA had been involved in the process leading up to Aschenbrenner’s hiring last year. Though PAA had offered to do another search for a city administrator at no additional charge in the event the person hired to the position wasn’t still on the job two years later, city attorney Carrie Miljevich said that only applied if the person hired left the position on his or her own or was dismissed for cause.
“(PAA) gave price consideration in the amount of $7,000,” Miljevich said. “I believe the first time around was higher.”
Under the terms of Aschenbrenner’s contract, she was considered an “at-will” employee and could be terminated without cause on a majority vote by the council. She received three months of her $85,000 annual salary upon being voted out of a job.
In other action, the council approved spending up to $3,000 for the selection of a recruitment consultant to hire a new police chief.
“What this does is back up the opportunity that if (the Police and Fire Commission members) are unable to find something in the pool (of candidates) that they already have without expending any money, this gives them the option to go forward and do that without having to come all the way back through (the Finance Committee) and come all the way back through (the City Council) again to get the approval for money,” said council member Mark Pelletier, who chairs the Finance Committee. “It is already approved in the budget.”
Applications for police chief are being accepted through the end of the year. Police captain Ron Lueneburg has been the acting chief since Michael Steffes left the position Nov. 1 after nine-plus years to accept a position with the state Department of Justice.