Pardeeville administrator moving on to Fox River Valley
PARDEEVILLE – Sixteen years after he started work here, Village Administrator and Public Works Director David Tracey is moving on.
Pardeeville Village President Robert Becker said Tracey’s last day of work will be at the end of this week, and the process of finding his successor has begun.
Tracey – who could not be reached for comment – is headed to the Fox River Valley, where the newly-formed village of Fox Crossing has hired him as its utility superintendent.
Becker said he’s sorry to see Tracey go.
“Does it come as a surprise? Kind of,” Becker said of Tracey’s departure. “But I knew he was looking. I knew he’d put in a couple of applications.”
Becker noted that Tracey has family ties to the Fox River Valley.
The northeastern Winnebago County village that will be his new employer was incorporated as a village in April 2016, in what used to be the town of Menasha. The incorporation first encompassed an area west of Little Lake Butte de Morts, and later the rest of the town of Menasha was included in the village limits. The community has a population of about 19,000.
Village Administrator Jeffrey Sturgell, who will be Tracey’s supervisor when Tracey starts work at Fox Crossing next week, said Tracey’s primary responsibility will be operating the water and sanitary sewer utilities.
Sturgell said Tracey’s application stood out because of his qualifications, experience and required certifications in utility operation.
“Obviously, our water needs to be properly purified and distributed, for the health of the residents,” he said.
Sturgell noted that Tracey’s predecessor, Jeff Roth, held the post, originally for the town of Menasha, for 42 years.
“David has got big shoes to fill,” he said.
Becker said Pardeeville officials already received applications from people seeking to succeed Tracey, and they’re planning to interview four or five of them.
It might be necessary, he said, to hire two people – one as an administrator, the other as a public works director – as some of the top applicants are qualified for one of Tracey’s jobs, but not the other.
Becker said it’s impossible to know how soon Tracey’s successor or successors will be in place, as a successful candidate likely would have to give at least two weeks’ notice to his or her current employer.
In the interim, Becker said, residents with public works concerns can contact the village office at 608-429-3121, and employees will connect them with whatever services they need.
Becker said whoever takes over for Tracey in Pardeeville will need time to cultivate a familiarity with Pardeeville’s operations.
“When he leaves, a lot of knowledge is going out the door with him,” Becker said. “He knew this village like the back of his hand. He knew his stuff, and he’s saved the village a lot of money.”
One example of that, according to Becker, was Tracey’s ability to acquire supplies for village projects, instead of paying contractors to get the materials.
Tracey also made a name for himself, statewide, in June 2008, when floodwaters inundated Pardeeville.
The earthen levee on the Fox River that forms Park Lake was in danger of breaching; if that had happened, the water from Park Lake would have emptied into the Fox.
Tracey worked with several people – including village employees, the Pardeeville Fire Department, and Richard Hoege, then the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office sergeant assigned to Pardeeville – to create an artificial stream made of about 3,000 sandbags and heavy-duty plastic. The stream, dubbed “Hoege River,” ran across Highway 22 and emptied into Spring Lake, taking pressure off the dam and preventing its erosion. The area where the stream was set up, for about a week, is now a village park, named Volunteer Park in honor of those who pitched in to haul sandbags during the 2008 flooding.
“Dave did a good job,” Becker said. “I think he really cares about the village and the residents here. He’d take the time to answer their questions. He had an open-door policy.”