(Beaver Dam) The contract has been extended for Beaver Dam’s Community Development Manager but not without debate from city officials. The economic development role is tasked with attracting new businesses and residents to the city, primarily – but not necessarily – limited to the downtown.
Mary Vogl-Rauscher was hired in April of last year for the part-time position which initially totaled 29-hours per week with a salary of $21-per hour. Recent city council action increased the hourly pay to $24.62 while reducing the number of hours to 25, remaining budget neutral. The initial contract was for one year-only, requiring council approval for a second year in April of 2020.
Alderman Ken Anderson, who chairs the city’s Administrative Committee, criticized the city’s failure to revisit the contract in April, as required in the ordinance, noting that the contractor received $16-thousand dollars while there was no contract in place.
“It bypassed the Administrative Committee, yet again, just because the mayor thought it was a good idea,” Anderson said.
“I would take exception to your characterization,” City Attorney Mary Ann Schacht said insisting there was no malice of forethought, “I do not believe it was just the mayor, I believe the administrative committee has as much responsibility…”
Anderson interrupted the city attorney, again accusing “the mayor and her cronies,” to which Schacht replied, “we’re not talking about historic, we’re talking about going forward.”
Anderson also maintains that the position did not meet the goals that were outlined in the contract. Alderwoman Jaci Shelton disagreed saying that there is value in the community development position.
“This position has worked really hard with the chamber and with Downtown Beaver Dam Inc to help encourage businesses to come into the downtown and help them get started and find the correct grant funding,” Shelton said.
“I also think it is disingenuous to say that this is only on the mayor when…I believe the person making concerns about this is the committee chair of Admin and could have brought this matter at any time prior to tonight,” she said, “this is where we’re at now and we need to move forward.”
Anderson said the lapsing of the contract was never brought to his attention, and he assumed it would sunset after the initial one-year period expired adding that it is the responsibility of department heads and management to stay up-to-date on contract matters.
In the end, the contract was extended with dissenting votes from Anderson and Alderman Mick Fischer. Alderman Kevin Burnett voted in favor but told the council that he tried to get in contact with the Community Development Manager but was unsuccessful and said that the number for the department is not on the city website, which is expected to now be updated.