In a 4 to 3 vote, the Village Board approved a contract for Mark Janiuk, the new village administrator, at its Tuesday meeting.
The approval was made despite the dissenting votes. The three Board members who voted against Jaiuk's contract said their decision wasn’t a reflection of how they felt about Janiuk’s ability to do the job. However, Tom Weatherston, Kevin Wanggaard, and Lee Wishau all voted against approving the contract because Janiuk, who lives in Racine, won’t be moving to Caledonia.
After the vote, Janiuk sarcastically said, “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
“We had an ordinance that said you have to live in Caledonia and on two separate occasions I asked if we were going to enforce the Village’s residency requirement ordinance and I was told yes,” Wishau said. “We shut out a lot of candidates because of those first decisions and I think that was totally unprofessional for the Board to do that.”
At issue is the residency requirement that Village department heads live in Caledonia. However, the Village Board, all in a 4 to 3 vote, decided to change that requirement just prior to the vote on Janiuk’s contract. The change allows the Village Board to exempt a department head from having to live in the Village if they are “particularly well-qualified for the position by reasons of education, background and experience.”
Wanggaard said he doesn’t have a personal issue with Janiuk’s ability to do the job and he actually admires him.
“But I think this sets a bad precedent,” Wanggaard said. “In my eyes it sets a bad tone if you don’t live in the community because you don’t show ownership or investment in the community.
Village Board member Kathleen Trentadue said she voted to change the ordinance and approve Janiuk’s contract because she wanted the policy to reflect the Village’s procedures since the Village promoted Toby Schey to be the chief of police. Schey lives in Oak Creek, but very near Caledonia.
“I’m looking at it as a compliance issue,” she said. “We were out of compliance with our own ordinance…now that we’ve changed the ordinance, I’m very happy now that we’re in compliance.”
The contract exempts Janiuk from having to live in Caledonia, but if he does move he’ll have to move to Caledonia.
Janiuk’s contract starts on July 23, 2012 and ends July 22, 2014, and can be extended. The terms include paying Janiuk $92,000 a year. He won’t be receiving health insurance or retirement benefits from the Village because he’s already receiving them as a retiree through Racine County.
As the village administrator, Janiuk is charged with staff administration, and financial and contract administration for 130 village employees. He replaces Tom Lebak, who is retiring.