BOSCOBEL - Boscobel native Patricia Smith is the city’s new administrator. A graduate of Boscobel High School, she has spent the last 30 years in the banking and finance industry. Most recently, she has served in executive positions at banks in Montana and California, respectively supervising a $5.2 billion asset fund and managing a team of customer experience strategists.
Smith has never worked in government, though she “has a passion for city government,” she said, fueled in part by interactions with numerous Montana city councils in her role as a banker.
Outgoing administrator Misty Molzof will remain on staff part-time through October to help train Smith and will return in November to assist in Boscobel’s election operations. Molzof, who held the position since 2019, submitted her resignation in early July. She started a new position at Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SWWRPC) this week.
Gary Kjos chairs the council’s personnel committee, which sifted through more than a dozen applications and conducted interviews before recommending Smith to the full council. “I’m glad we could get a Boscobel native, and I’m glad she came back,” he said. “You don’t get to be the head of a bank without knowing your way around the block.”
Boscobel City Council appointed Smith to a one-year probationary term at a salary of $65,000 a year.
Boscobel’s city administrator, who also serves as treasurer and elections clerk, is hired by the common council and manages virtually all of the day-to-day operations of the city including crafting its budget, revising ordinances and zoning, assisting with meetings, seeking grants, and generally serving as a primary point of contact between citizens and City Hall.
Smith said she hopes to bring a sense of transparency and collaboration to the position. “As an outsider looking in, I think there’s an opportunity to create the dialogue to help paint the vision of the city and get people on board to create a synergy within the community to really help people know what’s going on, and also move the city forward,” she said. “What I’ve learned about handling the voice of the customer from a corporate perspective, is that all feedback is great feedback. We shouldn’t just be afraid of the bad things. Bad things sometimes are great nuggets for us to grow on.”
Back in Boscobel
Smith’s career has taken her literally from coast to coast: California, Boston, Manhattan, Montana. Through it all, her heart stayed here in Boscobel.
She’s harbored fond memories of her childhood, she said. “I grew up in Homer, but I always wanted to be in town,” she said. “So I would ride my 10 speed, before I got my license, to come into town to go to the pool. When I was riding back home, some neighbor would pick me up and say, get your bike and we’re going to take you up the hill, because it got to be real steep.”
Later, she brought her son, now 25, back home for vacations,” she said, “just to give him that experience of growing up in a small-town during the Fourth of July, which is my favorite holiday here.”
In 2018, she planned to come home—she’s the only one of her four siblings who left, and her parents are getting older—but was recruited to California. In 2020, when that bank sold, she finally moved back to Boscobel.
She takes the reins of a city that faces many difficulties. Inflation, the housing shortage, levy limits, an ageing population, and the growing pressures of climate change all pose significant challenges for Boscobel.
Still, Smith sees opportunities as well.“I want to be part of the team that helps the city thrive. I’ve always had a vested interest in Boscobel, and I want to make sure that we can continue the longevity. There’s just so much opportunity.”