Mount Pleasant hires village administrator

Foxconn Mount Pleasant

It’s been more than a year since the Village of Mount Pleasant parted ways with their former full-time village administrator, Kurt Wahlen, but Monday the village board voted to hire a new individual.

A New Administrator

Maureen A. Murphy, was hired after a unanimous vote by the Village Board.

Murphy has worked in public service her entire career. She has been an administrator for the Village of Slinger and Door County, and the human services administrator for Washington County.

The direction she’s been given: Involve the citizens in the village government. She told the attendees of the village board meeting Monday night they have an open invitation to stop by her office.

Foxconn was primarily what drew her interest to the administrator position. “Foxconn was the draw. It is a monumental project that will put Wisconsin on the map internationally not just nationally,” she said.

The Foxconn project includes building a 32-million-square-foot advanced manufacturing campus, which includes a tool and die, molding, assembly and packaging facilities.

The trustees welcomed and congratulated Murphy on the new position. And Village president Dave DeGroot said he thinks the village will be well served by Murphy.

“Her career history itself includes a lot of time in the trenches,” he said. “We’re informed by her that she’s ready for this position and we expect her to hit the ground running.”

A Long Process

Wahlen was forced out of the position in July 2016 under cloudy circumstances. The board voted unanimously on a separation agreement that included a severance package in exchange for his resignation. Since then, Police chief Tim Zarzecki has been filling in as interim-village administrator.

The hiring process for the new administrator started under former village president Jerry Garski, when the board approved starting the hiring process in January 2017. And by March, the village had a number of candidates.

But after ousting Garski in the April election, current village president Dave DeGroot unilaterally halted the process. DeGroot said his decision to halt the process was because he wanted to review the authority assigned to the administrator position. The search was renewed in July. But having delayed the decision for a number of candidates that applied earlier in the year, Zarzecki proffered that the board needed to open it up to potential additional candidates.

Then, in late August, the board hired Claude Lois, former mayor of Burlington, as project director for the village. Lois was originally a candidate for the village administrator. He was hired through a contract with his firm, Kapur and Associates at a rate of $20,000 a month.

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