Mount Pleasant Village Hall

The Mount Pleasant Village Hall, shown here on Aug. 19, 2011.

SCOTT ANDERSON, Journal Times file photo

MOUNT PLEASANT — For the first time in 16 months, Mount Pleasant is poised to have a full-time administrator, the top staff position in the village government.

After spending roughly 20 minutes in closed session on Monday night, the Village Board voted unanimously to appoint Maureen Murphy, a veteran in municipal and county administration, as the new village administrator. Murphy’s first day on the job will be Nov. 20 and her salary will be $112,500.

The village has been without a full-time administrator since July 2016 when the Village Board parted ways with former administrator Kurt Wahlen. Mount Pleasant Police Chief Tim Zarzecki has been filling in as interim administrator.

Currently living in West Bend, Murphy has been handling family medical issues the past two years but before that spent decades in public service.

When asked why she decided to come to Mount Pleasant, Murphy responded with one word: “Foxconn.”

“My particular brand of management includes a lot of public involvement,” Murphy said. “Foxconn was the draw … it is a monumental project and it will put Wisconsin on the map, internationally, not just nationally.”

Murphy said she wants to move things forward with regards to Foxconn, but Project Manager Claude Lois will remain as chief overseer of the project for the village.

Years of experience

From December 2014 to July 2015, Murphy served as human services administrator for Washington County. Before that, she served two years as administrator for Door County. She was administrator for the Village of Slinger in Washington County for more than six years, and before that she was administrator for the City of Mequon in Ozaukee County for almost four years.

In 1992, Murphy worked in Milwaukee County as director of legislative affairs/special projects manager and would be in that position for almost 10 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in village administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Murphy said the Mount Pleasant Village Board had a desire to “involve the public” in village operations and “to let the citizen taxpayers know what we do. I think that’s essential.”

“The staff is outstanding here,” Murphy said. “A lot of places that you work don’t have such an outstanding staff. And I’ve met them and spent some time with them and they want some good, calm, consistent leadership.”

At Monday’s Village Board meeting, Murphy received unanimous praise with each of the board members who said they look forward to working with her.

Citizen involvement pledged

When Murphy stepped to the microphone, she turned around and faced the dozen citizens who stayed through the closed session and addressed them directly.

“The direction I’ve been given so far is to involve the people in this government,” Murphy said.

Murphy talked to the crowd about involving them in the process of forming a strategic plan for the future and possibly starting a “citizens academy government, so we can involve you all and show you really what a jewel we have under this building.”

“We have absolutely fabulous department heads, so you are well served,” Murphy said. “I’m inviting everybody to my office. So once I get settled, please stop by and say hello.”

The hiring of an administrator marks a significant step forward for the village, which has had turnover in several posts in recent years. The positions of village finance director remains vacant and trustees have yet to agree on appoint someone to fill a vacancy on the Village Board.

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Reporter

Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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