Mayor to Leave Early; Aldermen “Not Surprised”
By Brandi Makuski
Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson has announced he is stepping down from his elected office about four months early.
Halverson, who was first elected in 2007, said he’s leaving to accept a job with Ellis Stone in Stevens Point. The timing, he said, was designed to ensure he “tied up all the loose ends” before leaving.
“Essentially we wanted to ensure we weren’t leaving the council with an unfinished budget or other unfinished plans,” Halverson said. The Common Council must decide the city’s 2015 budget by November 15.
“We had to make sure all we tied up all the loose ends prior to moving on,” Halverson said. “But I’m confident we can create a situation where we have a very smooth transition with a person, or persons, who oversee the day-to-day (operations) in the interim.”
Halverson made his announcement at noon last Thursday by email shortly after he notified council members and other department heads. A replacement for Halverson will be decided at the next Common Council meeting on Oct. 20, and that individual will act as interim mayor until the April 20 election.
Halverson’s early departure wasn’t a surprise to most on the City Council.
“It’s not surprising,” said Alderman Roger Trzebiatowski. “I’d heard the rumors he would leave early, and looking back, I think there were plenty of signs he was leaving. Especially when he announced he wasn’t going to run again so early in the game. That, to me, was the biggest indicator he was considering leaving before his term was up.”
“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Alderman Tony Patton. “He told me he had future plans of what he wanted personally, so he probably just wanted to take the opportunity when it became available.”
Patton said he’s currently considering a run for the mayor’s seat in April.
But not everyone was as understanding. Alderman Mike Wiza, a frequent outspoken opponent of the mayor, said Halverson is “shirking his responsibilities” by leaving office early.
“To think he would be so disrespectful and quit with only a few month left in the term; to walk out of an elected office and shirk your responsibilities is disgraceful,” Wiza said, adding he had only found out after Halverson made the announcement to the media.
Wiza said the announcement surprised many in city government.
“He’s just blindsiding everyone by quitting,” he said. “I can’t understand why a local company like Ellis Stone wouldn’t wait four months to let the mayor finish his elected responsibilities.”
In May Halverson announced he would not seek a third term in office, citing a strong desire to spend more time with his family. The announcement prompted some within city government to believe it was a sign Halverson would leave early, but in June Halverson told the City-Times he had no intentions of doing so.
Last week, Halverson clarified his previous statements.
“What’s important to remember is I always said if the opportunity came around that was very specific, I’d need to take a look at that decision,” he said. “But I’ll always be grateful to the citizens of this city for this opportunity.”