Former Platteville city manager Larry Bierke was hired as Iowa County’s administrator by the Iowa County Board Nov. 10, the Dodgeville Chronicle reported.
Bierke was hired as city manager in December 2010, and had the job for 4½ years until May 1.
“Working in Iowa County fits my career path," Bierke told the Chronicle. "I hope to
help significantly to contribute in different ways."
Bierke resigned Nov. 25, one day after he sent a memo to the Common Council saying he wouldn’t be accepting a 2015 contract because of two changes from his second contract, signed in 2011 — a residency requirement and his pay.
Bierke said his 2015 contract was 1.7 percent less than what he was paid when he took the position in 2010.
He also said the proposed contract required him to live within 15 miles of Platteville. “The state passed a law that said they couldn’t do that, but the city council thought otherwise.”
Bierke lived in Mount Horeb, where he had been the village administrator until he resigned over disagreement with some members of the Village Board over economic development issues. Shortly after starting work in Platteville, he began a relationship with a woman who lived in Mount Horeb and worked in Maple Bluff.
“I’m very happy with that relationship, and that relationship has taken priority in my life,” said Bierke in December. “Is residency really something that’s important in 2014, 2015?
Bierke said in his resignation letter that he “wish[ed] I could have stayed forever … however these conditions of employment are not something I am willing to continue accepting.”
When Bierke’s resignation was announced, the city sent a news release saying that “the City and Bierke have accomplished a great deal for the community and its 12,000 residents.”
The release noted increases in the city’s tax base, bringing new businesses to the community, expanding the industry park, overseeing damage from the June 16 tornadoes, and “significant” growth in city population.
“The City is very thankful for the service and many hours of dedication that Bierke has shown the City, and is also excited for the new opportunities that the future will present,” the news release said.
Another project Bierke spearheaded is the Library Block project, with a new Platteville Public Library and 72-room Holiday Inn Express hotel going on the block of West Main Street, South Chestnut Street, West Pine Street and South Oak Street. The Common Council is expected to vote on the developer’s agreement next week.
Bierke’s tenure as city manager also included city hourly employees’ hours decreased from 40 to 37 per week from 2012 to 2014. The Municipal Building was been closed on nearly all Fridays between 2012 and 2014 as well.
“Most of the things I do, if not all of them, are directed by the Common Council,” he said in a December interview. “I have very few unilateral decisions that I can make, and it would be rather foolish to make controversial decision without their support.”
Bierke said that once his last day arrived May 1 he was looking “forward to being gainfully unemployed for a while, and seeing where that takes me.”
Bierke had been a candidate for the Fitchburg city administrator position, which was filled in May, only to have the number one candidate turn down the job to become Eau Claire County administrator. According to the Fitchburg Star, Bierke was the second finalist, but was not offered the position.
Before going to Mount Horeb, Bierke was the city administrator in Hillsboro. Bierke will start work in Iowa County Dec. 1.
Bierke commented that Iowa County has more of a decentralized structure with having 21 different people to work with instead of seven. The county has many leaders and the ability to accomplish more, he said.
“I hope to bring good things,” he told the Chronicle.