City starts search for Tetzlaff’s replacement

With longtime planning director retiring, Port council divided on how his duties should be handled in the future

Randy Tetzlaff
Ozaukee Press staff

Randy Tetzlaff is retiring from his job as Port Washington’s director of planning and development at the end of April.

The Common Council on Tuesday agreed to start the search for Tetzlaff’s successor.

But while aldermen agreed that finding a replacement for Tetzlaff, who has guided the city’s planning and development since April 2001, is important, they disagreed on what the position should look like going into the future.

Ald. John Sigwart said he would like the city to not only hire a replacement for Tetzlaff but also contract with a planner to help with the workload.

“The city has never been in as busy a development season as it is now,” he said. “I think we’re expecting a little much. When I read this job description, I got tired.”

For 37 years, Sigwart said, the city used an independent consultant as its planner before hiring its own planner.

Sigwart also said that by contracting with an independent planner, the city would have someone familiar with the community who could help when major developments such as the Prairie’s Edge subdivision planned for the city’s south bluff are proposed.

“When it comes to a major development, we should be ready to call on someone,” he said.

But City Administrator Mark Grams noted that neighboring communities, such as Grafton, are also facing development pressures but handle their planning duties in house.

“If a question does come up, I’m not adverse to going out and getting an opinion from a consultant,” Grams said. “Thus far, we’ve been able to do it.”

Ald. Mike Ehrlich said he doesn’t want the city to become too dependent on a consultant for its planning, agreeing that the city could call for one when large developments arise.

“I think we would still kind of want a jack of all trades,” he said.

But for now, he said, the city needs to begin advertising for Tetzlaff’s successor quickly so it isn’t shorthanded for too long.

Advertising now also means that Tetzlaff may still be working as resumes come in and he can help review them, Ehrlich noted.

City Attorney Eric Eberhardt told the council that it’s imperative to move ahead quickly to find a successor to Tetzlaff.

“Randy’s retirement could not come at a worse time for the City of Port Washington,” he said, noting there are numerous developments pending and the city’s comprehensive plan needs to be reviewed by the end of the year. 

“Time is of the essence. There’s a lot of lumber to cut. Whoever replaces Randy is going to have to not only learn the ropes quickly but take on some major projects,” he said.

Sigwart also said now is the time to look at the potential for reorganizing the city’s staff, something he said is particularly important because other staff members, such as Grams, may be retiring soon and a number of experienced aldermen will be leaving the council soon.

Ald. Mike Gasper suggested the city take a look at Tetzlaff’s job description to ensure the duties don’t overlap with those of other positions. Tetzlaff, he noted, is to keep an inventory of available business and industrial sites, something that might better be left to the city’s marketing coordinator.

Grams said the deadline for applications will likely be sometime in April, with the goal of having a planner in place in May.


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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