PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Applicants seeking to become Platteville’s next city manager hope to learn from the collective wisdom of community members if offered the position.
Richard Downey, Clint Langreck and Adam Ruechel had their first chance to do so while fielding questions from stakeholders during a meet and greet Wednesday at Wisconsin Bank and Trust.
The candidates highlighted their priorities and professional experience to more than 45 leaders of businesses, economic development agencies, city departments, nonprofit organizations, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Platteville Public Schools.
Members of the Platteville Common Council will deliberate today and determine whether to enter contract negotiations with a selected candidate. They expect to announce the decision next week before taking official action on Oct. 22.
Platteville’s former city manager, Karen Kurt, departed the position in August after accepting a job in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Downey, administrator of the Village of Kronenwetter, Wis., described himself to attendees as “an out-of-the-box guy.”
Previously, Downey was the city administrator of the City of Rock Falls, Ill., where he said he leveraged a public-private partnership with the local community development corporation to rehabilitate downtown buildings.
“If the city has to carry the entire weight, eventually the city is going to falter under that weight,” he said. “You have to have buy-in from everybody.”
Ruechel, who is the administrator of the Village of Marshall, Wis., said he hopes to dip his feet into economic development and collaboration with UW-Platteville.
Joyce Bos, a member of the Platteville Planning Commission and Commission on Aging, emphasized her desire to attract young people to Platteville.
Ruechel said that is a challenge he faces in Marshall.
“We’ve got to make sure that as our population gets older, we’ve got to continue to keep that influx and make sure that we are not losing those people,” he said.
Langreck, the director of human resources in Green County, Wis., said working at the county level among two dozen departments requires consensus-building to accomplish goals.
At the county level, service delivery largely is dictated by federal and state requirements, he said, and he has not had a chance to work at the municipal level or engage in public-private projects.
“If the organization were willing to take a chance on me to allow me to learn those technical skills, then I could be around for a while to help with (Platteville’s) growth,” Langreck said.
Previously, he served as the personnel manager/administrative coordinator and county veterans service officer in Clark County, Wis.
Kate Koziol, executive director of the Platteville Business Incubator, said an effective city manager must coordinate with the Common Council and be willing to collaborate and listen to stakeholders.
“There is an ongoing competition for resources, so they have to be very smart financial manager and be able to ask for input, whether that is coming in through grants or private funding,” Koziol said.