Port council picks another planning director

Job goes to City of Milwaukee official after first choice declines offer
Ozaukee Press Staff

Robert Harris was hired as Port Washington’s new director of planning and development by the Common Council Tuesday.

Harris, who is a senior planner with the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development, is expected to start his new job in mid-July, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

“He will accept the position,” Grams said. “We don’t have to worry about that.”

That’s key, since earlier this month the council offered the position to Jason Sergeant, community development director for the City of Evansville, who “decided to stay where he’s at,” Grams said.

Grams noted that the Personnel Committee was almost evenly divided whether to offer the job to Sergeant or Harris.

“The Personnel Committee was going back and forth between these two candidates for almost an hour,” Grams said. “It was a very close vote.”

Mayor Marty Becker concurred, saying, “It was almost a coin flip.”

The city “isn’t losing anything” by hiring Harris, Grams said.

“I think he’ll do a good job for us,” he added. “He’s got a lot of experience.”

Harris replaces Randy Tetzlaff, who retired from the position in April 30 after 17 years on the job.

Harris, who has a bachelor of science degree in political science and public administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master of urban planning degree from UW-Milwaukee, started his career as a planner for the City and County of Florence, S.C. 

He served as city planner for Wauwatosa from 1998 to 2007, when he began working for Milwaukee.

Harris brings experience in zoning and grant writing to the job as well as planning, Grams said.

“He has a lot of experince in what we’re looking for,” he said.

The salary range for the position is $73,000 to $93,000. Harris’ current salary is about $62,000, according to officials.

Grams said Harris would be offered the same salary as Sergeant, in the $80,000 range.


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