Downsizing in Swansea

August 22, 2013 

New Swansea Mayor Ken Mueller has ruffled some feathers over the village administrator vacancy. He started a job search before he got the job description changes approved. And he limited the search to the local area when some trustees think Swansea should be searching nationally.

Despite that rough start, Mueller makes a strong case for dialing back the duties of the job. He still wants a village administrator, but one who would act as a chief operating officer rather than the chief executive. He sees the role as that of someone who would implement the ideas of elected leaders; what Swansea has had in recent years is a city manager minus the power to hire and fire.

Does Swansea, population 13,430, really need a $90,000-a-year administrator -- what the last guy was making? Probably not.

Mueller said that lowering the salary would free up funds for other needed work, for instance upgrading the village's Web page. That would be a plus.

As far as the job search: It makes sense to advertise broadly, to find the best candidate possible. Keeping the search local limits the village's options. However, if candidates are equally qualified, we agree it makes sense to hire a local person.

The board and Mueller should have had this discussion in May, when Mueller said he sent the trustees his proposal. Now they need to make up for lost time and get on the same page.

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