Statement from Mayor Kraig Sadownikow, May 2, 2016
|Date:||May 4, 2016|
Statement from Mayor Kraig Sadownikow
May 2, 2016
West Bend Common Council Meeting
Good Evening. I have a few words to say regarding the former City Administrator.
It would be trite to say the events of the past week and a half are behind us, that we can move forward without regard to the alleged crimes and the betrayal many of us feel.
Personally, I will continue to look back for a while in search of answers to questions like how, why and what. I fully know answers will likely be few and far between. At the same time, I am ready to enthusiastically move ahead. I have a new found respect for our leadership team, our department heads and front line employees. While last week we were all in shock, the business of the City of West Bend continued unharmed.
We held a department head meeting last week Monday and the overwhelming theme coming out of the gathering was determination. The team was and is determined not to allow any one person to define who we are as a city or as a community. We especially will not allow a person charged with these types of crimes to write that definition.
We completed the legal process in eight days, allowing us to move ahead with confidence. While it did not seem fast enough, eight days is an extremely efficient amount of time given the charges and legal requirements. Last Friday our team made the decision to accept Mr. Justice’s resignation, effective May 13, meaning he will be on the payroll until next week Friday.
The City had the option of terminating employment immediately, without cause, which would have resulted in a six-month severance package. Additionally, we could have terminated employment for cause, however, the timeline for proving the ‘for cause’ along with due process requirements and legal expenses would have put the City in a worse position than accepting the resignation as we did.
I am confident we moved quickly, decisively, logically and legally in the best interest of the community and City employees.
There are three individuals I would like to sincerely thank for their work this past week, and they are Chief of Police Ken Meuler, City Attorney Ian Prust and Acting City Administrator Amy Reuteman. The four of us spent an incredible amount of time together communicating, strategizing and charting the most expedited process possible while balancing the delicate legal ramifications of each potential decision. Additionally, Jim Korom from von Briesen law firm and Captain Dehring and Lieutenant Lucka from the Police Department were intimately involved.
As I mentioned, our department heads are a strong group of individuals who communicated well with their teams. Down to each person, City staff performed their jobs with grace and dignity while carrying an unusually heavy burden. Thanks to all.
To the community… thank you. My personal tally as of this minute is 62. Sixty-two of you, some here tonight, personally reached out to me, not through Facebook or social medial, but personally made contact to say, “Keep your chin up,” and “Keep working hard,” and then said four of the hardest words in the English language to say “How can I help.” These are the business and education leaders, some of my friends, some people I don’t know, some are folks I typically align with politically and others I don’t. Thank you. My most sincere thank you. This community is indeed in good hands.
Finally, to any internal or external candidates interested in the city administrator position, please know you have an incredible opportunity.
The City is in a strong position to continue positive momentum. In the last five years we have reduced debt, raised reserves and we invested 25% more into our road infrastructure. Retail, commercial and industrial development is on the rise and our downtown is being reborn right in front of our eyes with retail, hospitality, cultural and quality of life attractions all remarkably strong.
The new administrator will be joining a city who has a maturing relationship with Washington County, the School District, as well as MPTC and UWWC. These stakeholders and others recognize what we do, and that we are stronger together than we are apart.
The new administrator has both the challenge and opportunity to return integrity to the position and to lead an organization that has made consistent and positive progress forward this past half-decade.
In the coming weeks we will communicate the timeline and process to identify, recruit and hire a new administrator. The process will be public, it will be regional, and it will include stakeholders from throughout our City and County.
Thank you once again to department heads, all employees, our constituents and community for your support the past week. Please join myself and the Council as we move forward together.
Statement by Mayor Sadownikow at Common Council on May 2, 2016