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Rhinelander Finance Committee to consider making city admin. job part-timeSubmitted: 01/18/2017

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RHINELANDER - It seemed like Rhinelander could finally start looking for a new city administrator. But the City Council will now consider another option, one that could potentially create a longer wait to fill an important job.

Last week, the Finance Committee approved a plan to hire a firm to start looking for administrator applicants. Rhinelander has run without a city administrator since the Council voted 6-2 to fire Kristina Aschenbrenner at the end of August.

Alderman Alex Young says the Council voted unanimously to consider making the position a part-time job Monday night, which now sends the debate back to the Finance Committee.

"[It's] something that should be thoroughly discussed, all the options that might potentially be out there, so that at the end of the day we can justify to the residents of Rhinelander that, hey, we looked at all the options thoroughly," Young said.

The city budgeted up to $95,000 for the administrator position. A part-timer could help the city save about half of that amount. Young thinks that's at least worth talking about, but shouldn't be the deciding factor.

"We all threw up our hands and said, 'Hooray!' when we got $10,000 left extra into the Parks budget for capital improvements, things like benches and tables, so every little bit does count," Young said. "[Is] that amount of money so important when you're talking about the most important position, probably, in city government, somebody who's going to lead a city that's got close to a $9 million budget when all it is said and done? Well, I think those are all factors we have to weigh."

Young says a part-time job could attract a local applicant, someone who keeps the job longer than a few years. But Young isn't sure that's the best answer.

"Perhaps three years of good management, three to five years of good management, is better than 20 years of bad management," Young said. "So, in that respect, I think there's an argument that having a professional or good administrator for a short period of time, and they may still be a good position for the city to be in."

Young says there could be a special session called for Finance to talk about the choices. The city hoped to hire a new administrator by May, but the new options could now push that schedule back.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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