New London city administrator to retire in June
Timeline set for hiring his replacement
By Scott Bellile
The city of New London will begin searching for a successor to longtime City Administrator Kent Hager.
On Feb. 1, Hager submitted a resignation letter to city officials informing them he will retire on June 14, just shy of 20 years serving New London.
“This is my 41st year of work in my profession, and it is time for me to retire and let a younger generation move this community forward,” Hager stated in his resignation letter. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked here in New London serving our residents. I believe we have made great progress and that there is a bright future ahead.”
The New London Finance and Personnel Committee on Feb. 6 recommended the city council accept Hager’s resignation.
“I will make that motion regretfully,” First District Alderman John Faucher said at the committee meeting.
“I will second that with double regret,” Second District Alderman Fred Zaug said.
The council approved Hager’s resignation on Feb. 12 after press time.
Council President and Fifth District Alderman David Morack presented the finance committee a timeline for hiring Hager’s replacement.
On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the city council will hold a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. to listen to presentations from two consulting firms, Integrated Public Resources and Public Administration Associates.
In March, the committee will select one of the two firms to assist in the search process, review the job description and advertise for candidates.
Morack and Mayor Gary Henke will review the applications and select finalists for the city council to interview in April.
The council will hire one of the finalists in May. The new city administrator will begin the job June 17.
As the chief administrative officer for New London, Hager’s duties include carrying out the mayor’s and city council’s directives, overseeing the city government’s daily operations, promoting economic development, preparing budgets and serving as City Hall’s public information officer.
Prior to accepting the job in New London, Hager was the administrator of Lake County in Colorado for 15 years.
Hager moved to New London from Leadville, Colorado, in 1999 with his wife, New London High School English teacher Callie Cochran-Hager, and daughters Quinn and Erin. He began work on Oct. 1, 1999.
Hager succeeded Jim Patrick, who left New London after a four-year stint in June 1999 to become city administrator for Lebanon, Ohio.
In his letter, Hager expressed disappointment that he will not see the proposed mixed-use library project to completion.
The city and New London Public Library are together working the Neenah firm Stadtmueller & Associates to develop concepts for a new library, townhouses, condominiums and a commercial building on the former Wolf River Lumber property in downtown New London. The land has sat vacant, unable to attract a developer, for much of Hager’s tenure since the now-defunct lumber company donated the property to the city in the mid-2000s.
“The development on the river front property is a very exciting opportunity for New London, and I regret leaving this project at this time, but I anticipate new leadership will ensure positive outcomes,” Hager stated in his letter. “New London continues to develop and I’m excited to see our community thrive in the years to come.”