Madison City Commission hires city administrator

MADISON'S COMMISSIONERS approved a contract on Wednesday between the city and Jameson Berreth of Volga, who will serve as the new city administrator. Berreth currently holds a similar position with the city of Volga and will start his new job in Madison on May 10.

Madison's municipal government took a step in a new direction on Wednesday with the city commissioners hiring Jameson Berreth of Volga as the new city administrator.

The Madison City Commission approved a contract with Berreth, who will start his new job here on May 10.

The commissioners held a special meeting to approve Berreth's contract. Mayor Marshall Dennert added an item onto the agenda to hear any public comments.

Dennert opened the meeting by saying that the city commission had started the search for a city administrator in November 2020. He introduced Berreth, who attended the special meeting, as the commission's choice for the city administrator, a new position within Madison's local government.

After a motion to approve the contract by Commissioner Jerae Wire and a second by Commissioner Adam Shaw, Dennert opened to floor for discussion. George Lee of Madison spoke to the commissioners about the contract, asking for the salary amount for the new city administrator. Dennert said that Berreth's salary was about $108,000.

Lee said the commissioners should consider delaying the hiring for a year. He proposed using the money instead for making electrical repairs at the municipal outdoor swimming pool.

Lee was the only speaker during the discussion session.

The commissioners moved to unanimously approve Berreth's contract.

Berreth currently serves as the city administrator for the city of Volga, a position that he has held for about the last five years. According to Berreth, his position in Volga was his first employment in municipal administration. As part of his education, he earned a master's degree in public administration from Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y.

After the meeting, Dennert said the city commissioners had interviewed more than a dozen candidates for the job and narrowed down the list to four.

At the start of the candidate search, the city commissioners posted a job description for the administrator's position that stated the person "...is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the City of Madison." The description also listed 15 specific functions and three general duties for Madison's city administrator.

Among the specific functions that the city administrator is expected to conduct:

-- Implementing the city commission's policies, procedures, directives and decisions with the municipal staff, outside organizations and residents.

-- Managing all of the city departments, including utilities, streets, parks and recreation, finance and human resources.

-- Negotiating agreements, contracts and leases for city services.

-- Preparing and submitting a balanced annual budget for city departments by working with the city finance officer.

-- Recommending the hiring of all city staff.

-- Working with the city's human resources officer on approving and implementing employee disciplinary actions and terminations.

-- Leading efforts to develop, plan and promote Madison's infrastructure investments and to conduct future planning, zoning and land use.

-- Supervising and providing guidance concerning all union contract negotiations.

-- Providing the city commissioners and mayor with accurate and up-to-date information, advice, direction and data.

-- Directing city staff to maximize the coordination among city departments so that municipal services are efficiently provided.

-- Providing recommendations to the city commission and/or for The Community Center and providing coordination among the center's board, director and staff members.

In the job summary, Berreth, as city administrator, will have direct supervision and management responsibilities for the city's human resources director; city engineer; airport staff; finance officer; the director for the streets, parks, solid waste and recycling programs; police chief; fire chief; utilities director; library director; and administration personnel.