(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen says she is excited about recent leadership changes at city hall. Longtime Director of Administration John Somers is retiring. Somers is being replaced by Jeff Wiswell, who is the city Finance Director and City Clerk, inheriting all of Somers responsibilities with the exception of personnel matters. Glewen told us on WBEV’s Community Comment Friday that Wiswell is bringing a diverse resume to the position. Wiswell once worked at the state-level as a lobbyist involved in bringing the Brewers stadium to Milwaukee and recently retired as the City Administrator, Director of Finance and City Clerk in Algoma.
The Beaver Dam Common Council also recently approved the creation of a part-time Community Development Manager, which will be tasked with developing the downtown while also promoting retail opportunities citywide. With Somers retirement, and the reduction of the Deputy City Clerk from full-time to part-time – also through attrition – those two personnel changes are budget neutral.
In addition to those changes, the mayor is working toward shifting the structure of city government to that of a full-time city administrator. Salary and benefits for a city administrator would have a six-digit impact on the budget. Glewen says by reducing the position of mayor to part-time, the city would realize savings of around $75-thousand dollars. The bulk, roughly $65-thousand dollars, would come from the mayor’s salary and benefits reduction. The city also realized a savings of around $10-thousand dollars with Somers replacement. Glewen refutes claims that there would be redundancy between the positions of City Administrator, Finance Director and mayor.
Changing to a city administrator form of government could be a lengthy process that requires changing the city charter; no timeline for the possible switch has been outlined.