The Ladysmith Common Council voted 7-0, Monday, to authorize advertising for a new city administrator.
Al Christianson, 66, who has been city administrator since Jan. 1, 1986, submitted his resignation to the city council effective April 3. He said he wants to spend more time on personal matters and yet stay somewhat involved in city functions, and has since declared his candidacy for council alderman.
The approval grants posting a job ad for the position in area newspapers, the Wisconsin League of Municipalities monthly magazine and on-line sites. The condensed job description states Ladysmith is a city with a population of 3,200 seeking applications for an administrator up to 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7.
A bachelor’s degree in management is preferred and at least three years of governmental or economic development office experience is preferred. Working knowledge of tax incremental finance, federal and state grant, loan and other assistance programs is also preferred.
The position is responsible for general oversight of department hears and has primary responsibility for developing community enhancement projects and operating the city’s economic development program. It prepares various analyses for council, committees, commissions and boards.
The city has a $4.4 million operating budget plus enterprise, special revenue and capital projects funds. It also has 31 full-time and four part-time and more than 25 seasonal employees.
The salary is dependent on qualifications with excellent benefits.
Christianson will not be involved in any part of the process of advertising, interviews or selection.
Christianson told the council much of his work takes place behind the scenes out of public view. He cited the Ladysmith Walmart more than 10 years ago, and how its development could not be made public until the deal was finalized without placing its development in jeopardy.
“I think a lot of people in the community probably didn’t understand what I did most of the time,” Christianson said.
He said the same is true with a lot of the industrial expansions that occurred over the years, according to Christianson. He said he has “copious notes.”
“A lot of time when you work with private business they have reasons they don’t want competitors knowing what they are doing,” Christianson said.
The city’s personnel committee revised the city administrator job description and ad several years ago when Christianson last mulled retirement but eventually remained employed in his position.
Council members spoke highly of Christianson during the meeting.
Ald. Bill Morgan said he contacted cities of Bloomer and Barron to request administrator job descriptions. He called the descriptions nearly identical, adding Cumberland recently had 16 applicants for its administrator vacancy.
“Are we downsizing this job to not have the same criteria and qualifications to get the job?” Morgan said.
Ald. Marty Reynolds cited Christianson’s time spent at city hall and his background knowledge, especially with economic development.
“It is going to be hard to replace Al,” Ald. Marty Reynolds said. “I would hope we will not be downsizing too much.”
In other business, the council:
— Voted Voted unanimously to approve an engineering proposal from Short Elliott Hendrickson to assist with creating of TID 13 at a cost of $12,800.
— Voted Voted unanimously to approve adding two and upgrading six street lights along Port Arthur Road from 155 to 246 watts at an increased operating cost of $500 annually per a request by North Cedar Academy to improve safety along the dimly lit road.
— Voted 6-0 with Ald. Mark Platteter abstaining to grant non-represented employees as were previously granted to the Ladysmith Police Professionals Association. This includes four personal days and the right to convert 80 percent of accumulated sick leave to payout at retirement, up from 60 percent.