WFB Village Manager to Retire

Village Board, Village Hall, Trustees, Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation

About a year ago, WFB's Village Manager, Jim Grassman discussed whether or not to retire in 2009.  For a variety of retirement reasons, economic and personal, he chose to stay at Village Hall.  He's now turned in his notice of retirement, aiming for the end of 2010.

He's been grooming Assistant VM Matt Schuenke for the past year to take over as interim Village Manager, so the Village won't skip a beat during the transition.  Indeed, with the loss of former Clerk/Treasurer Barb Patin six months ago to retirement, the Village will lose a significant chunk of its leadership in 2010.

While I realize many over the past 4 months have been angry about flooding, sewers, and the Village reaction, there's a lot for Grassman to hang his hat on during his 8 years.  

Infrastructure rebuilding, which had flat-lined in the first half of the 2000s, has seen a dramatic rise to 2010, which had the most infrastructure rebuilding in decades.  Truth is, with 24% of municipal sewers rebuilt in the past 5 years, one could assume that no other Village Manager in WFB's history has rehabbed more.

Silver Spring was renewed.   WFB's bond rating is outstanding.  Our debt load is relatively low.  Mostly through controlled spending, we've grown our general fund balance (rainy day fund) to nearly 30% of our annual budget.   Oh, and on top of that .. WFB's municipal tax rate is the 3rd lowest out of the 19 Milwaukee County communities.

As a Trustee, I'd love to take credit for that stuff, but I know better. 

As a group, the Trustees are comfortable with Matt Schuenke presiding in the interim.  While one would usually immediately start the hiring process, we have one major consideration:  Elections. 

In April, President Pritchard and Trustees Siegel and Fehring's terms will end, and three others may take their place.   The Board members standing after April 2011 should make the final decision.  We'll know who volunteers for those positions by January 3rd, 2011.

(That's not to say we'll sit on our hands until April.  A process will be developed, and hopefully, candidates narrowed for final selection.)


Two other small bits of information -- First off, the WFB Civic Foundation's Great Pumpkin Festival was a great success, with 1,000+ pumpkins carved by village artist-residents.   There's a nice photo gallery here.

Huge thanks to the CF's board members, WFB's DPW, army of volunteers, sponsors, and community donors who make this Norman Rockwellesq event take place each year.


Finally, the WFB Civic Foundation has a new project for 2011 .. a "Rain Barrel Street Art Project." 


Artists are needed to contribute creative designs and painting for Whitefish Bay’s Rain Barrel Street Art Project.  Rain barrels and a nominal allowance for paint will be provided.  Artist recognition will appear on printed materials such as posters and brochures.  Artists are encouraged to sign their barrel and provide an artist’s statement that will also recognize their contribution.

Submit a sketch by November 15, 2010 with your name and contact information to

More information on the Rain Barrel project can be found here.

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