West Bend mayor to be Fredonia’s first administrator

Jenkins will be paid $90,000 a year to oversee village at a time of turnover, also manage town
Ozaukee Press staff

The Village of Fredonia is entering new territory with the hiring this month of its first administrator , Christophe Jenkins.

Jenkins, 33, who is the village administrator and clerk treasurer for Elmwood Park in Racine County, will be closer to his home in West Bend, where he has been mayor since April 2020 and lives with his wife Leann and their five children. Before that he served two terms as an alderman and one term as a Washington County supervisor.

Jenkins was hired by the Town of Fredonia as its clerk in August and since then “I got to know the village” and the issues it is facing, Jenkins said.

Jenkins will be a full-time village employee but will continue to help oversee town affairs, with the town reimbursing the village for time spent on town matters,

Village President Don Dohrwardt and Jenkins estimated about 30% of his time will be spent on town business.

Jenkins said his base salary will be $90,000, plus two bonuses of $2,500, one to be paid at signing and another after six months on the job.

Dohrwardt said Jenkins will start full-time in January but will work part-time for the village beginning immediately on the 2023 budget.

“The village has a  lot of good things going for it,” Jenkins said. Those include a plan for economic development and a plan to improve the village parks.

At the same time, the “tough economy” also presents challenges for the village, he said.

An even bigger and more immediate challenge for the village, however, is its current staffing situation since former Public Works Director Roger Strohm left the village last month to take a position as an engineer with the City of Port Washington.

Strohm wore a number of hats for the village, overseeing a variety of departments, such as streets, parks and the wastewater treatment plant.

“We have a number of staffing challenges ahead of us,” Jenkins said.

Village clerk treasurer Melissa Depies was hired by the village in January and will remain in that position.

Another challenge will be for the Village Board to get used to an administrator-led form of government, as trustees in the past were forced to be more involved in the minutiae of village government, Dohrwardt said.

Village administrators manage department heads, prepare budgets and oversee other matters  that are then presented to the Village Board and president. In the previous organization, department heads reported to trustees on the Village Board and deferred to committee chairmen.

Jenkins holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is in the process of obtaining a master’s degree from UW-Oshkosh, he said.

Dohrwardt said he was long-eyed going to a village administrator form of government.

“The way we were doing it we put a lot of work on ourselves and did a lot of micromanaging,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about this. He’s younger and ambitious as all get out, which is nice.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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