New city administrator sees growth, opportunity
Rhinelander city administrator Patrick Reagan is in his second week of work at city hall. “I see really good days ahead for Rhinelander and it’s exciting to be part of it,” Reagan said.
By Eileen Persike, editor
Rhinelander has a new city administrator. Patrick Reagan began the job Feb. 6, moving from Lake Odessa, Mich., where he served in a similar role. Rhinelander has been without an administrator since Zach Vruwink resigned last fall to become the CEO and deputy executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
Reagan first spent time in Rhinelander in 2008. That’s when he became aware of the Hodag, which he said is “one of the really cool things about this town,” because it provides “national branding.” Now he sees more.
“What I see for Rhinelander is opportunity,” said Reagan. “Growth, bigger city feel but yet small town charm, which is awesome. I see new hotels springing up, I see lakes all around, I see the country music festival, I see that branding and it’s exciting to me.”
Reagan is a graduate of Grand Valley State University in Michigan and holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s degree in public administration with a focus on public management and urban and regional policy. He sees his role as city administrator as a leader and a resource.
“You have to understand policy, understand people and you have to be able to work with people, and work with people who may not always hold your viewpoint,” Reagan said. “And understand that at the end of the day we’re trying to do what’s best for the city, be that financially, or physically, street projects – anything. You’re trying to do what helps the greatest good.”
Short-term goals include meeting residents, business owners, local leaders; getting to know the city council, the staff and the city streets. After a year on the job, Reagan said he sees himself as the leader of a great team.
“That sounds kind of simple, but these folks are professionals and they are experts in their fields,” he said. “So, working with them to make this city better – however that is – working with the council and the residents and continuing to find different projects, opportunities … to be doing everything the best for Rhinelander.”
In the last eight years Rhinelander has seen a number of city administrators or acting city administrators come and go. Reagan said he is aware of that, and hopes that the city will continue to look forward.
“I see really good days ahead for Rhinelander and it’s exciting to be part of it,” he added.