Fifty Nifty Takeaways
What do we hope to learn from this series? We hope you will gain a better understanding of the unique characteristics of local government in each state, we hope you will learn that there are others like you who are motivated to make a difference through the public sector, and we hope you will learn that it is best to learn from others’ mistakes than yours.
The 50 Nifty heads into the Badger State to hear from Andy Pederson, Bayside village manager. Our knowledge of Wisconsin is limited to Scott Walker, Miller Lite, Paul Ryan, cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and Summerfest so before we hear from Andy let’s educate ourselves on America’s Dairyland.
Wisconsin is the 23rd state by total area and the 20th most populous. The state capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The state comprises 72 counties.
The most common property tax assessed on Wisconsin residents is the real property tax, or their residential property tax. Wisconsin does not impose a property tax on vehicles, but does levy an annual registration fee. Property taxes are the most important tax revenue source for Wisconsin’s local governments, as well as major methods of funding school districts, vocational technical colleges, special purpose districts and tax incremental finance districts. Equalized values are based on the full market value of all taxable property in the state, except for agricultural land. In order to provide property tax relief for farmers, the value of agricultural land is determined by its value for agricultural uses, rather than for its possible development value. Equalized values are used to distribute state aid payments to counties, municipalities, and technical colleges. Assessments prepared by local assessors are used to distribute the property tax burden within individual municipalities.
The cities of Wisconsin have been active in increasing the availability of legislative information on the internet, thereby providing for greater government transparency. Currently three of the five most populous cities in Wisconsin provide their constituents with internet-based access of all public records directly from the cities’ databases. Wisconsin cities started to make this a priority after Milwaukee began doing so, on their page, in 2001. One such city, Madison, has been named the Number 1 digital city by the Center for Digital Government in consecutive years
Drinking has long been considered a significant part of Wisconsin culture, and the state ranks at or near the top of national measures of per-capita alcohol consumption, binge drinking, driving under the influence, and proportion of drinkers. Factors such as cultural identification with the state’s heritage of German immigration, the longstanding presence of major breweries in Milwaukee, and a cold climate are often associated with the prevalence of drinking in Wisconsin. The minimum legal age for recreational consumption of alcohol is 21 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Wisconsin is the only state that treats a first offense drunk driving (OWI) as a traffic violation and not a misdemeanor.
Milwaukie: If one is thought of as offensive looking, it is illegal for him to be in public during the day.
Racine: Missiles may not be shot at parade participants.
Sheboygan: Only police officers may shoot birds.
St. Croix: Women are not allowed to wear anything red in public.
Bayside Village Manager
Experience: Assistant Village Manager, Village of Brown Deer and Human Resources Director and Special Projects Coordinator, City of Whitewater
Education: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, BA, Political Science / Pre-Law and Hamline University, MPA, Public Administration
Background Check on Andy
Under his leadership, the village has worked to find new and improved ways to communicate and engage with its residents, recognizing that each resident communicates differently based on preference, age, or other factors. Among the innovative communications techniques used by the village to keep residents informed are the “Bayside Buzz,” a twice-weekly, newsletter-type communication that is sent via e-mail to more than 1,900 participants; extensive use of Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In, as well as RSS feeds through its web site and iPhone applications; and, more recently, use of Pinterest (a pinboard-style social photo sharing website) and Next Door (a neighborhood-based social media platform).
Prior to serving in Bayside, Pederson was the assistant village manager/community services director for the Village of Brown Deer; human resources director/special projects coordinator for the city of Whitewater; and assistant to the city administrator of Apple Valley, Minnesota. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University.
Bayside (population 4,389) is in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties.
Bayside through it collaborative efforts with other North Shore communities, has consolidated several services, such as Fire, Dispatch, Library, Court, Health, and much more; which adds nearly $16 million in additional budgetary aspects and 200 plus more employees that help service the Bayside community.
Bayside’s strategic focus is confirming the “non-silo” manner in which we operate in conducting business through our five Long Term Strategic Values for Outcomes. Each initiative, expenditure, and performance metric is categorized by the four (4) long-term strategic values adopted by the Village Board of Trustees: Fiscal Integrity, Civic Engagement, Service Excellence, and Sustainability.
The strategic values represent a multi-year effort of innovation, leadership, and long-term vision of providing services in the most cost effective and efficient manner. We have maintained financial strength, advanced an ambitious agenda, enhanced focused on performance metrics, and ventured into new areas of consolidation, even during the economic downturn.
The Village has been recognized and honored by International, National, State and Local organizations in each of the five strategic values, ranging from the top performance measurement honor bestowed by the International City County Management Association; recognized as the Green Community of the Year by the Milwaukee Business Journal; multiple awards in government transparency, communications, and use of social media and communication outlets, as well as the Village’s much noted Right Brain and the Emotional Draw program.
Notable Residents: Gaston Vandermeerssche, leader in Dutch resistance, World War II and Mark Metcalf, actor who played ROTC instructor Doug Neidermeyer.
Best piece of advice from your parents. Develop a strong work ethic at a young age.
Which bands would headline your retirement party? U2.
(Complete the sentence) Before I die I want…… to live life to its fullest.
- Abraham Lincoln
- Magic Johnson
- Thomas Jefferson
- Ted Koppel
Describe the inside of your car. Clean, organized.
What’s the meaning of life? Hard question, had to search this on internet and found a great quote, “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
Q & A with Andy
Give us three bullet points that best describe local government in WI.
- Establishing a new normal
- Struggles in intergovernmental relations (state-local)
- Fiscal challenges
We’ll assume you didn’t grow up dreaming about a career in local government. What was your dream job as a 12-year old? What was your first local government job? How did you end up in local government?
First job in local government was as an intern with City of Apple Valley. Got into by meeting thr Deputy City Administrator who offered me a position as an intern. Have never looked back.
- Consolidation of seven community and shared seven community fire department emergency dispatch services into one communication center in Bayside.
- Developing long term financial sustainability to community.
We often learn from our mistakes. Name one or two career mistakes that you have made that you think we could learn from.
- Network and learn more form peers
- Don’t get caught up it every situation that takes away time from focusing on larger picture items.
Our experience has been many of our friends, family, and neighbors are not well versed in what it is we do in local government, many think we are a “planner” or “mayor”. Has this been your experience?
Yes, often times asked or told, you’re elected?
Stop thinking they are so busy doing their job that they forget to communicate. Involve, be transparent, make the community part of solutions.
Would you encourage your family and friends to consider a career in local government? Possibly.
Mentoring is such an important part of local government. Name three of your mentors. Previous bosses and colleagues.
(Complete the sentence) In 2018, local government will be …………interesting, challenging and rewarding.
- AL: Sam Gaston, City of Mountain Brook, City Manager
- CO: Robb Kolstad, Management and Budget Director, City of Thornton
- OK: Larry Stevens, City of Edmond, City Manager
- FL: Lee Feldman, City of Fort Lauderdale, City Manager
- GA: Peggy Merriss, City of Decatur, City Manager
- MO: Jennifer Gray, City of Des Peres, Assistant City Administrator
- NE: Larry Burks, City of Bellevue, Assistant City Administrator
- TX: Amy Buckert, City of Balcones Heights, City Administrator
- NC: Eric Peterson, Town of Hillsborough, Town Manager
- MD: Laura Allen, Town of Berlin, Town Administrator
- IL: Randy Recklaus, Village of Clarendon Hills, Village Manager
- NC: Mitchell Silver, City of Raleigh and American Planning Association
- IL: Patrick Rollens, Village of Oak Park, Social Media and Communications
- KY: Laura Milam Ross, Kentucky League of Cities
- AZ: Gabriel L. Engeland, Town of Gilbert, Assistant to the Town Manager
- SD: Sean Pederson, City of Canton, City Manager
- MI: Clay Pearson, City of Novi, City Manager
- WA/UT: Jon Amundson, City of Richland, WA and City of Orem, UT
- CA, FL, OR: Douglas Ayres, Former City Manager of Inglewood (CA), Melbourne (FL), and Salem (OR)
- California: Brian Angus, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Chief Executive Officer
- Washington/California: Julie Underwood, Shoreline City Manager
- NY: Jay Gsell, Genesee County, County Manager
- SC: Katherine Hendricks, City of Pickens Administrator
- CO: Tim Gagen, Breckenridge Town Manager
- UT: Rick Davis, West Jordan City Manager
- WA: Doug Schulze, Bainbridge Island City Manager and WCMA President
- IA: Geoff Fruin, City of Iowa City, Assistant to the City Manager
- CT: Roger Kemp, Former City Manager and Current President, Kemp Consulting
- AR: Jeff Dingman, Fort Smith Deputy City Administrator