MOUNT PLEASANT — When Maureen Murphy got the job of village administrator for Mount Pleasant, she knew she had her work cut out for her.
With the Foxconn Technology Group planning to build a massive manufacturing campus, the village is preparing for big changes in the near future.
The Journal Times recently sat down with Murphy in her office for 30 minutes to talk about her goals of meeting with employees, improving structure and organization, developing a performance review system, and redrafting and revising village procedures and policies.
Following is a summary of the conversation.
Why did you decide on these goals?
I did two interviews with the Village Board and the department heads and I could sense already from hearing from those two groups that we needed some structure and organization. I will be examining everything to make sure that reporting structures are accurate, that we respect workloads and the span of control with people. We’ll be making adjustments accordingly and now that I’ve had a month or so to assess the talent, I’m more comfortable in making those assessments.
As part of every job I’ve been in, I do a weekly report to my bosses (the Village Board) and that’s a good way for them to get an idea of what I’m doing on a daily basis, but in addition to that it’s a good way to keep them informed as to what issues are bubbling to the top. I’ve used it as a tool in the past and it really is an excellent way to communicate with them in writing every Friday as I’m leaving the office.
You talked about adding structure to the village operations. Can you give a sense of what the situation was like when you walked in and what are some of the messes that need to be cleaned up?
We’ve had a vacancy in the finance area on and off for the past several years. We have two folks in the finance department that have really been holding things together and doing a great job, but they don’t have a leader directing them. They’re well aware that we don’t have reconciliation being done on our bank accounts.
As the audit pointed out, for 2017 the only month that we did was January. December and January are the hardest months to do that; obviously that’s because of tax collection. With a roughly $19 million general fund budget, those are the two key months of the year to make sure they get done. January was done for 2017 but we need to make sure that everything gets done for 2017. We currently have Baker Tilly working us through that so that our bank records do get reconciled through the end of 2017. The finance area was probably the biggest area that required attention.
What are some of the things that you’re most excited about in the future? Obviously Foxconn comes to mind, but what non-Foxconn things are you looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to, and this will be the whole community, to doing a strategic plan and a survey of the public. I look forward to that public input that goes along with the survey process, getting an idea of what services are important to our citizens, getting an idea of where there’s room to improve, what new services are they interested in providing, how are we doing with the existing services. And I’m hoping to do some public meetings with that in addition to the survey so that folks can come in and talk to us one-on-one.
I’m looking forward to getting people involved in government, preferably millennials. I’d like to see some millennials involved in our government, they’re the future. I would encourage the younger people in our community to volunteer for a committee, start getting involved so that they have the experience to be my next set of bosses.
How are you going to be celebrating Christmas this year?
I have a husband and a dog who don’t see me Monday through Friday, so I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my husband and my family. We do what most folks do, we have that nice Christmas dinner together and I have a really ugly sweater picked out to wear on Christmas Day and the twinkly necklace that goes along with it.
What about your plans for New Year’s Eve?
I want to come down and see the City of Racine. I have not spent a lot of time in the city and it’s absolutely beautiful. (Mount Pleasant) Village Trustee John Hewitt has taken me around the City of Racine and it is incredible what’s been going on in Racine since I came here as a kid. I’m looking forward to the art museum in Racine and hopefully, if some of the stores are open, I’d like to be doing some shopping. I haven’t had much of an opportunity to stimulate the economy like I do when I have more time.
What are some of the places you have gone?
I had a meeting at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread. I’m a lifelong resident — all but two years have been spent in southeastern Wisconsin — (but) I have never been to Wingspread. Now that I’m here, I had a meeting at Wingspread ant it was unbelievable. And I want to come back with my family and take a tour of that facility. It is an absolute jewel for Racine. I’ve been a Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast my whole life. So for me to get to see that place, it’s unbelievably beautiful.