A significant change will be coming to city hall next year.
On Monday, the Beaver Dam Common Council unanimously approved ordinance changes to shift to a form of government with an elected part-time mayor, hired city administrator and elected council starting in 2022. Right now, the city has an elected full-time mayor serving alongside the council.
The change will take the oversight of day-to-day operations out of the hands of whomever the mayor is and hand it to the city administrator, whose hiring the council would approve. The elected mayor would still be responsible for setting a vision, coming up with policy ideas and proposals and being the face of the city of Beaver Dam.
“We’ll always have a mayor,” said City Attorney Maryann Schacht. “The mayor will always be the head of the city.”
Further details about the hiring process, what the city administrator’s salary would be, how to pay it are to come later. Mayor Becky Glewen has indicated that she would not want to move into the administrator job and would be reducing her role and looking for a new full-time position. She has pushed for the switch to a city administrator for the past couple years.
The council also approved a change to reduce the mayoral salary from $60,000 to $20,000, beginning in 2023 after the next election for mayor. During public comment, former Council President Robert Ballweg said he was in favor of the restructuring, but urged the council to consider the part-time mayor’s salary.
“If you look around this room, there’s a number of people sitting at your desks who know how much time it takes for city government,” he said. “Some of you people are probably qualified or are qualified to take or run for the position of mayor. I guess I would ask you to think about that position, what it entails potentially and to make sure that the wages that you set are sufficient to attracting a qualified person for that position.”
Ballweg said the mayor is still going to be a position that is needed and still a position of authority of the city.
Council member Jaclyn Shelton said she would want the council to revisit the mayor salary in a year and consider the market rate.
Other local communities with a city administrator include Columbus and Waupun.