Port finds its next planner in city half its size

Council agrees to hire ‘well-rounded’ Evansville community development director for about $80,000 a year

Jason Sergeant
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday agreed to hire Jason Sergeant as its new director of planning and development.

Sergeant, whose appointment is subject to salary negotiations, would replace Randy Tetzlaff, who retired from the position in April 30 after 17 years on the job.

City Administrator Mark Grams was authorized to negotiate a salary in the $80,000 range for Sergeant, who is currently the community development director for the City of Evansville, a city of about 5,000 people between Madison and Janesville in Rock County.

“Jason really impressed me,” Ald. Mike Ehrlich, a member of the Personnel Committee, said. “Jason’s energy and his fresh ideas were excellent.”

Ald. Jonathan Pleitner, also a member of the committee, said, “I thought he had some really great ideas. I really liked Jason.”

City Administrator Mark Grams said the city received 10 applications for the job and six candidates were initially interviewed by a committee consisting of himself, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven and Ozaukee Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Kathleen Cady Schilling.

“Even though we did not get a lot of applications, the quality of the applicants was very good,” Grams said. “They all had very good credentials. They all did a good job.”

The Personnel Committee interviewed the finalists for the position and recommended Sergeant for the job last week.

“We felt he was well-rounded, not just with zoning and planning issues but with economic development,” Grams said. 

Sergeant has a bachelor of science degree in architectural studies from Southern Illinois University and a master of architecture degree with a minor in urban studies from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.

Before he took the Evansville position in 2014, he served as assistant regional planner for the Columbia River Gorge Commission, special projects manager for the Port of Cascade Locks, an adjunct instructor for Robert Morris University and ITT Technical Institute and a planning consultant for Shawano County.

In Evansville, Sergeant worked to update the city’s comprehensive and parks plans, something that he will need to do in Port Washington, Grams said. 

He helped create the community’s historical district design guidelines, “which we’ve talked about doing here,” Grams added. “He also did some recent redevelopment work for their downtown.”

Sergeant was Evansville’s “go-to person” on zoning issues and handled significant economic development work, Grams added. He also has experience with website design.

“This sounds like a logical next step for him,” Ald. John Sigwart said.

Ald. Mike Gasper questioned the salary for the position, saying the $80,000 range might be too high for his experience level.

“He’s getting quite a bump,” Gasper said.

 Grams, who noted the salary range for the position is $73,000 to $93,000, said Sergeant’s current salary is about $58,000.


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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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