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Economic Development Director Inherits Big Staff, Weighty Responsibilities

With ouster of Nancy Welch, Paulette Enders adds Community Development functions to Economic Development role.

For more than a year since her hiring, Tosa Economic Development Director Paulette Enders has run a department of one — herself.

Earlier this year, with strong backing of City Administrator Jim Archambo, she asked the Common Council for one staff member, a business specialist, to assist her. The council tabled the request, citing economic restraints.

Suddenly, Enders has a staff of 12.

With the , Enders has inherited most of the duties of that department, and she is likely to keep them.

An interim plan to cover Welch's absence puts all of the functions of under Enders' watch for at least two months. Archambo also presented the Employee Relations Committee on Tuesday night with an organizational chart that he envisions will create a new, merged Community and Economic Development Department, with Enders in charge.

"After an evaluation period I will be coming to this committee with further recommendations," Archambo said. "There may be some tweaks."

Essentially, the new org chart makes Enders the overall development director and puts her in charge of three divisions — planning, building and safety code enforcement, and economic development.

Other physical plant operations duties that Welch had inherited will now go to the Public Works Department. Those are building and facility maintenance functions involving three custodial and repair positions.

Archambo said that the restructuring of duties into one department will save the  city $90,000 more than what was anticipated in the proposed 2012 budget. There was already a planned reduction in spending on Community Development of $115,000, he said, resulting in an overall reduction of $205,000.

Enders makes $105,000 a year under a two-year contract. No mention of a raise was made at Tuesday's meeting.

Council Members Express Many Concerns

Ald. Jeff Roznowski expressed some concern that with so much new to do, Enders might have trouble "keeping her eye on the ball of economic development," the job for which she was hired.

Ald. Brian Ewerdt echoed that worry, saying, "Going from one person, footloose and fancy free, knocking on doors, to having a dozen people under her. How is she going to handle that?"

Archambo said that to keep Enders underwhelmed, City Attorney Alan Kesner would be taking on zoning issues for the time being, and that there would only be three direct reports to Enders — planning, building and safety, and economic development itself, which is currently unstaffed.

Ald. Michael Walsh was concerned that any new duties devolve upon Director of Public Works Bill Porter, who would become responsible for the maintenance postiions.

"I never understood why (those duties) were under community development," Walsh said, "but Bill has been with us for maybe seven months. I'd like to see him use his finite resources for what he was hired for."

Ald. Jill Organ said, "I was always told that it was best to keep economic development separate. How did that change?

"The roles and responsibilities of the community development director are huge. How is one person supposed to handle all of it?"

Ald. Linda Nikcevich was incensed at the whole process, saying that she felt she'd wasted years on the council working to develop an economic development structure at the behest of the administration only to see it blown up.

Referring to Welch's layoff — and the consequent restructuring of the two departments — she said to Archambo, "This is an absence of your creation. The council has been circumvented. The city administrator has not been honest. I feel an insult to the council."

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