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Mayor Wants Supervisory Role Over City Administrator Restored

Waukesha city administrator thanks council for protecting her and improving work environment.

The Waukesha Common Council and Mayor Jeff Scrima will have to resolve several issues during the next several months as they begin to search for the next city administrator.

City Administrator Lori Curtis Luther is leaving Waukesha to take the administrator position in Peoria County, IL. Given the amount of referrals that were made during Thursday’s council meeting, some decisions will have to be made.

Scrima wants the council to change its previous decision to strip his supervisory role of the city administrator. Last summer, the council held a closed session meeting to discuss Luther’s contract based on issues that had risen with Scrima.

“This is for the purpose of conforming to Wisconsin State Statutes and returning to the citizens the right of being able to hold one person directly accountable for the day-to-day operation of city government,” Scrima told the council.

The change Scrima is seeking would apply to the next city administrator. Director of Community Development Steve Crandell is taking over the operations of City Hall as the interim city administrator.

“I wish we could move forward,” commented Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings immediately after Scrima’s referral.

Meanwhile, Luther publicly thanked the Common Council, city staff and the entire Waukesha community for the positive relationship she had during the last 3-1/2 years.

Then, without mentioning the specific changes to her job contract and the issues at City Hall that preceded the changes, she thanked the council for their support last summer.

“I would like to take this opportunity to personally and public thank members of the council for the action you have taken to improve the work environment and to protect me as your employee,” Luther said. “I hope you understand that this is an exceptional opportunity to advance my career and also get closer to my family, I am looking forward to the positivity and professionalism recently demonstrated in my brief stay in Peoria.”

Luther has been the frequent target of public attacks during the public comment portion of the Common Council meetings. Based on the behavior that has been expressed during those meetings, the council is now reviewing the rules and procedures for the public comment portion of the meeting.

Meanwhile, other aldermen brought forward other referrals about the city administrator search process.

  • Common Council President Paul Ybarra wants the Human Resources Committee to discuss Crandell’s compensation given his dual responsibilities.
  • Aldermen Joan Francoeur and Duane Paulson are asking that the city attorney’s office provide a presentation about the role of the city administrator and the structure of city government.
  • Alderman Roger Patton is requesting that the Common Council hire an executive search firm to lead the quest for a new city administrator.
clearthinker July 09, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Perhaps disgruntled residents should take the opportunity to verbally attack Luther's lackeys in the fourth estate!
Johnny Seed July 09, 2011 at 02:15 PM
I can't wait for the next election, it is time for an adult new Mayor. Please someone step up that can work well with others.
Jane July 09, 2011 at 07:35 PM
The current mayor is shaking up the status quo, which is something that was very much needed. Now let's see how the next couple of years go. Also let's keep the position of mayor in charge at city hall so the citizens have one person they can hold directly accountable.
Dean July 11, 2011 at 01:00 AM
No, Jane, your little group of supporters think that the City needed a shake-up. This Mayor has been an embarrasement. As far a the next couple of years go, it would be nice if the Mayor could figure out how to properly run a public meeting. That would be a good start. After that, maybe he can become a leader instead of just discussing books about it.
alpine5654 July 11, 2011 at 02:05 AM
Dean, I'm not a fan of anybody at City Hall... But what is more embarrassing? 1) Allowing people who take time out of their lives to go to Public Comment and speak their minds about whatever is bothering them? (You know... the whole reason for public comment) 2) To have 90% of the Alderman and City Employees get a glazed over look in their eyes, and go to that "happy place" in their little heads when the serfs (or little people or peons... whatever term you prefer to use) come to speak? I applaud the guy who called Luther to the carpet on not paying attention to the residents at Public Comment... but even after that, she wouldn't get her nose out of her laptop. I call that embarrassment.
Jeff July 11, 2011 at 02:37 PM
If I had to sit up there every 2 weeks and listen to the same handul of people repeating the same handful of talking points (this is a well-organized group, not random citizen outrage) over and over again, I'd get bored too. The elected officials all know what your concerns are...you all love Scrima and hate the Council and Lori Luther. How many times does the Council have to hear it before they start tuning it out?
tootsieraul July 11, 2011 at 05:39 PM
I agree, they're "tone deaf" and not representing the citizens who keep asking and asking the same things. How is this "representative government"? Has Waukesha had a group of differing citizens showing up at their council; meetings saying it's rude of the Waukesha mayor to stick his nose stuck in a laptop during meetings?
Jeff July 11, 2011 at 05:52 PM
I am a Waukesha Citizen and feel that I am being represented in a manner which suits me fine. Common sense approaches to real problems. Not being letting policy be driven by threats or the concerns of a handful of vocal critics is EXACTLY how I want to be represented.
Dean July 12, 2011 at 12:17 AM
I take meeting notes either on my laptop or my iPad. How do you know Luther wasn't doing the same? The same people are pretty much saying the same thing over and over - and it's usually been either in Sound Off or in Internet comments somewhere. They expect me to believe that they're just citizens speaking their minds and not an organized group?
Dean July 12, 2011 at 12:18 AM
Agreed.
Dean July 12, 2011 at 12:21 AM
It's rude of the mayor to not respect the office enough to learn how to run a public meeting according to Robert's Rules of Order after over a year on the job, don't you think? Is looking bewildered preferable to looking bored?
tootsieraul July 12, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Well, I'm glad to see you both do not have a problem with Waukesha's mayor, your full time elected CEO of the city as your representative.
Jeff July 12, 2011 at 01:47 PM
The City government is working as it should. The Council has decided after years of study that Lake Michigan Water is the way to go. The Mayor has opposed that and like in all representative democracies, the Council has decided to move forward. I don't have a problem with the mayor trying to rule the City the way he wants, he was elected to do that. HOWEVER, I really don't have a problem with the Council (also elected, might I remind you) blocking any of the Mayor's actions. This is nothing new. This is the way it has always been in Waukesha and in every other City in the state. Councils have the power and always have.
Zabular Cranton July 26, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Our council must keep control of the city. Scrima is a bad joke. We chose not to re elect Larry Nelson, we can't wait to send Scrima back to wherever he came from. Jeff, shut up, learn and listen. And maybe stop lying about your education. Smart people, I think not!
Zabular Cranton July 26, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Amen, well said Dean!

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