RACINE — City Administrator Jim Palenick, whose current contract with the city ends in April, is continuing to look for a position outside Racine that he believes is more “well-suited to (his) skill-sets and strengths.”
“While I have very much enjoyed my role in Racine, and continue to do so, the governmental structure here isn’t as well-suited to my skill-sets and strengths and I feel like my leadership and abilities, particularly in the areas of economic development and redevelopment, strategic planning, and fiscal stewardship might yet be more fulfilled, utilized, and appreciated if given the right opportunity,” he said in an email.
“My entire career, prior to coming to Racine was spent working in, and for, communities who employ a professional city manager and who then hold that individual accountable for the community’s effective service delivery; financial health; and growth and development,” Palenick wrote.
“In, turn, however, they also invest in their city manager the responsibility and authority to profoundly affect the decisions that will ultimately shape and impact the prospects for effectiveness, financial well-being, and long-term growth. I am well-suited to such a system and have had significant success working under that kind of accountability.”
In May, Palenick was selected as a finalist for a city, county manager position in Broomfield, Colorado, though he was not selected for the position. In July, Palenick was again chosen as a finalist for a city manager position in Columbia, Missouri, but was again not chosen. Since then, Palenick’s name has also cropped up among many other applicants for city manager positions in Upper Arlington, Ohio and Gainesville, Florida.
Palenick said he has been selective in choosing which positions to apply for.
“In each case these positions have been for a “city manager” in a community with significant size, substance, and challenge, and with long histories of operating under the council-manager form of local government,” Palenick stated in an email.
Three vacancies at city
Palenick was appointed by former Mayor John Dickert and approved by the City Council in March, 2017. He was granted a three-year contract, starting April, 2017 running through April, 2020.
City spokesman Shannon Powell said the city’s focus at this point in time is passage of the 2020 budget; once that’s completed then conversations about Palenick’s contract can begin.
Palenick has been filling in for two vacancies for the past few months, first as Department of Public Works commissioner after Mark Yehlen retired in March, and unofficially as city development director after Amy Connolly’s departure in early August.
Powell stated that the city has interviewed candidates for DPW commissioner, though its unclear when a decision will be made. The city has not yet posted the city development director position.
Another vacancy is human resources director after Timothy Thompkins’ retirement earlier this year. Powell stated the city has received applications for that position.