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Wells fills two vacancies

By Staff | Jul 3, 2010

Chris Elvebak

The city of Wells has a new community development director and street department supervisor.

It didn’t take the City Council long to replace development director Austin Bleess, who resigned June 18 to accept the city administrator’s position in Winnebago.

Council members voted unanimously Monday night to hire Chris Elvebak, the current community development director for Janesville.

City officials interviewed Elvebak for about 30 minutes before offering him the job.

The council had planned to interview another candidate, Marc Dennison of Darien, Wis., however, the city was informed he had accepted another position in that state.

Janie Whim

For Elvebak, he’ll be moving to an area where many relatives reside.

“Not many people in my profession get a chance to work close to home. This is a great opportunity I couldn’t let pass by,” he says. “I spoke to residents of Wells, current and past employees and everyone had nothing but great things to say about the city.”

One of the things that made the Wells job attractive, Elvebak says, was the city’s strong committee structure.

He says his first order of business will be getting to know city staff and the programs currently in place.

“I’m going to listen and learn. I’m not going to come in and start making changes,” he adds.

Councilmembers also interviewed Janie Whim of Elko and Brent Crump of Austin for the street supervisor vacancy.

Mayor Shannon Savick says both candidates are excellent and can handle the position.

But, Savick says Whim’s educational background could be important in seeking alternative funding sources for the city.

“With the economy the way it is and cuts in state funding she would be able to do some grant writing,” she says. Councilman Mike Weber suggested more candidates should be interviewed to ensure the best person is hired.

Councilmember Ashley Seedorf urged the council to hire someone to relieve Germann of the duties he assumed when Rick LaVallie retired effective May 1.

“We can’t put this off any longer,” Seedorf told the council.

Savick’s motion to hire Whim passed on a 4-1 vote.

Whim says she was sitting in her car outside the Community Center following her interview and writing a thank-you note when she received a phone call from Germann.

“I’m so excited and anxious. It’s going to be a challenging job, but I’m ready to go,” she says.

Whim says she’s looking forward to once again live in a small-town atmosphere so her three children can attend school in the same town.

Elvebak is scheduled to start on July 19 and will be paid an annual salary of $42,000.

Whim will begin her duties on July 13 and earn $41,000 a year.

Both employees also must complete a six-month probation.