MUSKEGO - With two key people at the Muskego City Hall taking other jobs, Muskego is working on reorganizing and possibly streamlining, but apparently not outsourcing as it did with assessing for property taxes.
David Simpson, director of public works, left in September for the same position in Wauwatosa, and community development director Jeff Muenkel who had been with the city for 15 years left for a position in private industry.
The council met in closed session to discuss the skills of current employees in relation to a potential reorganization of the engineering and community development departments. In the meantime, Graef will continue to provide Michael Paulos to serve as interim director of public works.
It may also have an outside company help in community development.
4 of 5 gone
Since 2015, people in four of the five top city positions have left.
In addition to the DPW and community development directors leaving, the police chief retired in January, being succeeded by a new chief, the parks and recreation director was replaced after he left following the department being reduced to handling only recreation and the IT director left and a replacement found. Sharon Mueller, director of finance and administration, provided stability throughout the years of change.
"The IT and recreation replacements turned out fine," said Alderman Neil Borgman. But there probably will be some noticeable changes with the critical positions of DPW director and community development director getting new people, he predicted.
Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti declined to comment on the reorganization efforts or on the departures of Muenkel and Simpson. However, aldermen said they miss both.
Borgman, paid tribute to Muenkel saying, "He's been an exceptional planner."
"Everybody on the council respected Jeff," who played a crucial role, he said.
A city the size of Muskego needs someone selling it to businesses and to people looking for a new location, he said.
"He looked for new businesses that would be a good fit for the city," he said.
"We need a person doing that and doing it well," Borgman said.
Muenkel also brought money into the city.
"He was good at finding grants hidden in the woodwork," Borgman said. "He was a real asset."
Alderman John Engelhardt said, "He was very, very thorough and a real help."
Finally, Alderman Bob Hammel said of both Muenkel and Simpson, "I enjoyed working with them. They were a tremendous help."
Muenkel's last day was Jan. 13.
Looking back Muenkel said, "It has been a pleasure working for the city of Muskego over the past 15 years."
"One of the highlights of my career has been seeing the city’s identity change over the recent years due to the many economic development initiatives I was able to institute with the council," he said. He was especially proud of council approval of the Parkland Towne Center currently under construction and of the project receiving a $500,000 state grant, Muenkel said.
"I spent numerous hours on" obtaining that grant, he said. Muskego is now at a jumping off point, he said.
"The city of Muskego is poised for this continued growth and positive change. I will always be keeping a close eye on Muskego in anticipation of seeing the continued investment efforts take shape," Muenkel said.
Aldermen also applauded Simpson who left in September.
"He was stellar," Borgman said. "He came up with some fantastic solutions to drainage problems."
Engelhardt agreed: "I considered him a good staffer.
Neither was looking for a new post, but were drawn away from the city.