Veleker to retire
Waupaca city administrator’s job ends July 1
By Angie Landsverk
Henry Veleker has agreed to retire as Waupaca’s city administrator after a second incident with city police in two years.
His retirement is effective at the end of the business day on Monday, July 1.
The common council met in closed session for almost an hour on June 25, to discuss Veleker’s performance.
Veleker was cited for disorderly conduct in the city on June 15.
When the council returned to open session on June 25, it voted 9-1 to accept and approve a retirement agreement with Veleker.
Dmitri Martin voted against it.
He wanted to strike the portion of the agreement related to the city paying the first two months of Veleker’s health insurance COBRA premiums.
That amounts to about $2,000, according to Mayor Brian Smith.
There was no second on Martin’s motion to amend the original motion.
Martin’s motion thus failed, and that remains in the agreement.
The mayor told the Waupaca County Post the agreement was reached by “Jim Macy, Henry and myself.”
Macy is the city’s labor attorney.
Vacation pay, HRA account
As part of the agreement, Veleker receives his vacation pay of about $14,000.
“We are required by law to pay that out,” Smith said.
Because Veleker is retiring, his sick payout of about $44,000 goes directly into a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) account.
Former city employees may only draw down funds in their HRA accounts when they are retirement age eligible.
The funds may only be used for health-related expenses.
The mayor said Veleker is not admitting any guilt within the agreement.
It states that the “city agrees that there are no pending personnel issues involving Mr. Veleker and that he is retiring from his employment in good standing.”
The agreement also says he cannot sue the city, and the city cannot sue him, Smith said.
Veleker signed the agreement prior to the special council meeting.
He did not attend the meeting.
The mayor signed the agreement on June 26.
The mayor was vacationing out of state when the June 15 incident involving Veleker took place.
At about 12:30 a.m. that day, a 911 call reported a disturbance at Weasels, 108 E. Union St.
When officers arrived at the scene, witnesses reported a disturbance involving Veleker that occurred both inside and outside the bar.
Veleker had left the scene, but officers located him walking on South Main Street.
He was issued a municipal citation for disorderly conduct and released.
That same day, Police Chief Brian Hoelzel notifed Smith of the incident involving Veleker.
Smith said he sent a text message to Veleker.
Veleker called the mayor after receiving it.
When Smith returned to Waupaca on June 21, he called a special council meeting for June 25 to discuss Veleker’s employment and performance.
2017 disciplinary agreement
Veleker had signed a disciplinary agreement on April 19, 2017, after being arrested nine days earlier in the city for drunken driving.
That agreement stated that Veleker “agrees that if he engages in any future conduct which leads to legal problems with regard to the use of alcohol, such as another Operating While Intoxicated, or other similar charge, such conduct shall subject the employee to termination.”
The first time Smith met with Veleker regarding the June 15 incident was at 1 p.m. Monday, June 24.
“At the 1 p.m. meeting with Henry, I notified Henry he’d be put on administrative leave and that I’m proposing a retirement agreement,” Smith said.
Prior to that, the mayor talked to Macy, Hoelzel and Kathy Kasza, who is the city’s finance director/treasurer.
Veleker remains on paid administrative leave until July 1.
“On July 2, he is no longer employed by the city,” Smith said.
Veleker was hired as Waupaca’s first city administrator 21 years ago.
The city issued a short press release related to the acceptance of Veleker’s resignation.
It said that under Veleker’s guidance, the city experienced many significant developments, keeping it a great place to live, work and play.
“We wish him the best in his retirement,” the mayor noted.
After the council accepted the retirement agreement, Smith discussed the timeline for filling the position, and how the administrator’s job duties will be handled until then.
Veleker was also the city clerk.
Smith appointed Deputy City Clerk Sandy Stiebs as the city clerk, effective immediately.
The appointment needs to go before the council for formal approval.
Its next scheduled meeting is on Tuesday, July 16.
Smith said Kasza is the “point person” for the city at this time.
She is receiving all of Veleker’s emails until the city decides how to move forward, he said.
“She won’t be called ‘acting city administrator,’” Smith said.
But he said she actually will be.
Director of Public Works Justin Berrens has also agreed to assist, the mayor said.
Smith told the council anything they would have discussed with Veleker should go to Kasza.
If she is uncomfortable handling something, it will go to him, the mayor said.
“One thing – I’m not vying to be a full-time mayor,” he said. “Council, we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
That is because the city will have two department head positions vacant.
Brennan Kane resigned as the city’s director of community and economic development in April.
Andrew Dane is serving as the city’s interim director.
He works a few days a week.
A timeline for filling that position had not been set.
“We need to hire the city administrator first,” Smith said.
He wants someone in that position by Jan. 1.
“We will be going through the budget process without a city administrator at this time,” Smith said.
He said with the two positions vacant, the city will take the opportunity to discuss the positions, as well as the clerk’s office.
There will be a discussion about whether to keep it as “status quo or change how we’re handling things,” Smith said.