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Whitefish Bay Hires Former Oak Creek Administrator as New Village Manager

New manager brings 32 years of public sector service to the village.

Patrick DeGrave, a municipal administrator who began his public sector career as a police officer, was named Whitefish Bay's village manager Monday. 

The Village  Board met in special session to approve DeGrave's contract, which includes an annual salary of $105,000. DeGrave is expected to start his new job May 2. 

“I’m thrilled,” DeGrave said in a telephone interview Monday night. “I think Whitefish Bay is a wonderful community, and I am looking forward to getting to know the community and its residents.”

DeGrave earned a slot among  for the position when one of the finalists, Denise Pieroni, accepted another position in the midst of the search process. 

DeGrave served as Oak Creek city administrator from 2006 until the council voted not to renew his contract in 2010. DeGrave has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Concordia College and consulting.

In Oak Creek, DeGrave managed a government with 250 full-time employes and a $24 million general fund budget. The city's population is roughly 35,000, or about twice that of Whitefish Bay.

DeGrave's 32-year public sector career includes 16 years as a municipal administrator, from 1994 through 2010, and 16 years with a town police department, as an officer and a sargeant.

DeGrave was with the town of Mount Pleasant police department from 1978 through 1994. He moved into administration, serving as Mount Pleasant's town administrator until 2000. DeGrave's administative stints, in addition to Oak Creek, include four years as village administrator in Slinger and two as Menasha's town administrator.

DeGrave is a 1991 Concordia College high honors graduate, and holds a master's degree in management from Cardinal Stritch College. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Wisconsin City/County Management Association and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

DeGrave succeeds longtime Whitefish Bay village manager James R. Grassman, who retired earlier this year. Matthew G. Schuenke, assistant village manager, has served as interim manager since Grassman's retirement and will resume his post as assistant once DeGrave is on board.

The search for Grassman's successor was conducted by Stephen Hintz, of Public Administration Associates, an Oshkosh-based consulting firm.

"In selecting DeGrave, the Village Board has left Whitefish Bay in good hands," said board president Kathleen Pritchard. "His references and record of achievement have amply demonstrated his skills as a municipal leader and administrator."

Pritchard also recognized Schuenke for providing "seamless and effective leadership during the transition period."

A public reception for residents to meet their new village manager is planned.

Bob McBride March 29, 2011 at 03:33 AM
Well I guess someone's gotta ask. Why was he fired by Oak Creek in 2010?
Andrew Martin March 30, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Bob, Last night the phrasing of your pesky question made me laugh; but today I’m surprised that no one has responded. It is, after all, a perfectly reasonable question to ask. Andrew Martin
Bob McBride March 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM
I did just now notice that the wording of the article as it relates to his departure from Oak Creek has changed. It now states that the council voted not to renew his contract. I could probably ask why that was, but I have a feeling that the answer would be something along the lines of it being a decision based on a number of factors and that it was a personnel matter and as such it's council policy not to comment publicly.
Jeff Rumage March 30, 2011 at 02:52 PM
No hard and fast answers, but here is the information I am going off of: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/82711727.html
Bob McBride March 30, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Thanks Jeff. Looks like any additional information would have to come from Mr. DeGrave himself.

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