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Rhinelander Council Extends City Administrator Contract Six Months

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Rhinelander's City Council has decided to extend the City Administrator's contract but what the job will be, and some of the duties of the mayor are to be worked out.

With budget time here, the special meeting was called to determine what to do with the job now held by Keith Kost. Kost came in as a part-time Administrator last year after the dismissal of Kristina Aschenbrenner.

Kost's contract was set to expire at the end of the year. The council deferred making a making a decision now whether the job is full-time or part-time. Finance committee chair Mark Pelletier felt a decision to extend the contract would give the city time to figure out the best path, with the first decision whether to hire a consulting firm...

"....it's politics, it takes awhile. First, if we look at hiring a (consulting) firm we have to advertise, then we have to pick one. Then they have to come. By the time they put the information(vacancy notice) out there, you're already looking at April before you start getting any of the first people...."

Tied to the structure of what the new administrator might do is just how involved the mayor is day-to-day. Mayor Dick Johns said he felt over time the council had stripped the mayor of duties that should be in that office.

City Attorney Carrie Miljevich says the mayor's job duties are laid out in state statutes. But council members felt it was worth further discussion. The decision on the mayor's duties has to be made by December 1, which is the first date papers can be taken out for the spring election.

The council referred the matter back to committee to bring it out again at the November council meeting.

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