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Common Council to meet twice next week on administrator position
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MONROE - Next week could bring a decision in the hiring of a new city administrator in Monroe.

The Monroe Common Council is scheduled to meet in closed session Tuesday and again in special session Thursday regarding filling the revised position. Aldermen are expected to have a roll call vote in open session Thursday on a resolution approving an employment agreement for the city administrator with legal duties position. The meeting's agenda does not indicate whether a candidate will be chosen or announced.

The roll call vote follows a closed session, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, for members to discuss the candidates, salary and benefits and a contract. The council also will meet in closed session to discuss the same items during its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The finalists for the position, current City Attorney Rex Ewald and James Mogen of Rice, Minn., have been interviewed twice by council members. Aldermen last met Nov. 18 for more than three hours, conducting second interviews with the candidates, meeting with department heads individually, and discussing various aspects of the new position.

Ewald and Mogen were announced as the final two candidates on Oct. 29. There were six applicants, and three qualified candidates who were interviewed. Former Freeport Mayor Jim Gitz was eliminated from contention after the first interviews.

The city administrator position has been vacant since May 2008.

Common Council created the new administrator position by placing city attorney responsibilities in the job description July 29.

The city administrator will be required to have a law degree and to write policies, ordinances, resolutions, contracts and agreements, and other legal documents, as well as provide litigation, prosecution and other legal services for the city. Human Resources duties, including overseeing all personnel matters, are also in the job description.

Former City Administrator Mark Vahlsing left the position after two years, on May 15, 2008, in agreement with council members, after a former administrative assistant, Janelle Bittner, filed a discrimination complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development against the city on May 1. Bittner alleged Vahlsing made sexual advances toward her and forced her to quit because she complained. The case was settled out of court through the city's insurance company.