Waupaca council to wait for new director
By Angie Landsverk
The Waupaca Common Council wants to wait until the city hires its new public works director before making a decision about reinstating the Board of Public Works.
The council’s May 19 agenda included discussion about bringing the board back until a new director is on board.
Ald. Paul Hagen brought the idea forward during the council’s May 5 meeting, following John Edlebeck’s resignation.
Edlebeck’s last day working for the city was April 30, and the vacant position is not expected to be filled until around Sept. 1.
“In the absence of a public works director, I thought it’d be a good idea to reinstate the Board of Public Works,” Hagen said during the council’s most recent meeting.
Hagen said the board would serve as an “extra set of eyes” for the department.
His idea was to reinstate the board until a new director is hired and then take another look at it.
Under the council’s former format, it met once a month and had four main committees: Finance, Judiciary, Personnel and Public Works.
About two years ago, it changed its ordinance to switch to two council meetings a month, disbanding the four main committees.
The Board of Public Works’ failure to make a recommendation to the full council about whether the city should continue adding fluoride to its drinking water triggered the change.
Last year, former members of the Board of Public Works expressed their concerns about Edlebeck not having a committee for discussion and feedback when the police chief, parks and recreation director, library director and development director all had committees related to their departments.
At that time, Mayor Brian Smith brought up the idea of having a committee, which included council members and at-large members, like the committees referred to by members of the council.
When the city had the four main committees, they consisted of only council members.
Ald. Scott Purchatzke was on the Board of Public Works and said they would need someone to head the committee if they brought back, noting Edlebeck had done so.
With the department’s division heads having additional work right now, Purchatzke wondered who they would want to serve in that capacity.
Street Superintendent Roger Hansen is the in-field lead division head, helping with the coordination of the department’s activities and projects.
City Administrator Henry Veleker, who is serving as the department head, said Edlebeck took on about six months of work during the last months of his tenure.
That prepared the city for the spring and summer projects.
Veleker said the city also has a consultant in the interim.
“So Henry, you’re saying you don’t think it’s necessary right now,” Hagen said.
Veleker said the Public Works Department has strong division leaders, and the idea of reinstating the board has more merit when the new director gets on board.
Hagen then declined to make a motion.
“Maybe we can look at it again in a few months,” he said.