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UPDATED: Falls Village Manager Tops List of Highest Paid Administrators

Although Mark Fitzgerald was the highest paid public administrator in 2011, and the second highest paid in 2012, Falls Village Board members say he's worth every cent.

This article was updated at 5:22 p.m. Wednesday to reflect corrected information

If you had the choice to feed your family on Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s salary, or Menomonee Falls Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald’s salary, you may be inclined choose the former.

However, according to a database compiled and published by the Sheboygan Press, you may want to head to Wisconsin’s largest village rather than its largest city. The Sheboygan Press database includes public employee compensation from 2011 and 2012 for all 91 towns and villages in Wisconsin with populations of 10,000 or more.

The database includes salaries for mayors, city administrators or managers, police chiefs, and fire chiefs.

According to their data, Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald raked in a gross 2011 total income of $167,192, which made him the highest paid of all the employees in the database. In 2011, Fitzgerald earned a base pay of $149,692, logged $17,500 categorized as overtime or extra pay, and received $35,910 in benefits. In 2012, his base pay was listed as $151,000, which is second only to Janesville City Manager Eric Levitt.

According to the database, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, and four other top-level Milwaukee administrators earned a base pay of $147,336. Menomonee Falls Police Chief Anna Ruzinksi’s $114,982 base 2012 was also ranked sixth highest in the state. However, Ruzinski also become the village’s Director of Protective Services, which also encompasses the fire department. Fire Chief Jeffrey Hevey’s base salary was listed as $102,378 in 2012.

Every year, the Menomonee Falls Village Board sets the salary for its top administrators. They held firmly that Fitzgerald deserves to be among the top, if not the top, paid administrators in the state.

“I’m a strong believer in pay for play,” said Village Trustee Jame Jeskewitz. “If the person does the job they should be compensated for it. I’d be willing to bet there isn’t another community that has had the progress in development that we have”

Jeskewitz said Fitzgerald has worked tirelessly to bring significant developments to the Falls in a time when investment in other Wisconsin communities has been stagnant. In the past few years, Fitzgerald has helped forge deals that brought Actuant Corp., Eaton Corp., Woodman’s, and a Wacker-Neuson expansion to Falls among many.

However, Jeskewitz said Fitzgerald’s major accomplishment was a multi-million dollar deal to keep a new Kohl’s headquarters development in Menomonee Falls. The retail giant announced it would stay in Falls last year.

“He was negotiating for a long time to keep them,” Jeskewitz said. “If it wasn’t for him, Kohl’s wouldn’t have landed in our backyard.”

Jeskewitz also acknowledged that the Radisson Hotel development has been filled with its challenges, but commended Fitzgerald for implementing the necessary actions to safeguard the village and taxpayers from future liability associated with the hotel.

Trustee Jeff Steliga said Fitzgerald’s salary is somewhat deceiving, since he actually handles the workload of two positions. When former Community Development Director Bill Freisleben retired on the final day of 2009, Fitzgerald assumed the responsibilities of his position. Freisleben primarily focused on marketing the community, and working externally to forge deals with prospective developers.

Steliga said the board agreed to increase Fitzgerald’s salary by 25 percent of Freisleben’s to compensate the extra workload. He said Freisleben earned between $80,000 and $90,000. 

“Rather than have someone else fill that position Mark said he would take that responsibility,” Steliga said. “We looked at it as a cost-saving measure. While individually he’s expensive as a village manager, he’s doing the job of two.”

And cost saving has been a consistent theme in the corridors of Village Hall. For the past several years, the village has operated with a bare-bones budget. The village tax levy increased less than 1 percent in 2013. Over the past 6 years, staff levels have been reduced from 233 in 2007 to 180 in 2013. Fitzgerald said in October 2012 that staffing levels are at their trimmest levels, and any more cuts in the future could impact services for residents.

“We’ve got an excellent village manager, and we pay him accordingly,” said Trustee Dennis Farrell. “He’s done a good job and brought a great deal of professionalism to Village Hall.”

All seven Village Board members were contacted for comment Tuesday, but not all had not responded by 4 p.m.  

Correction: The original article posted indicated that Mr. Fitzgerald earned $17,500 in overtime pay. However, Fitzgerald is not eligible for overtime as he is a salaried employee. That amount would fall under the "extra pay" title in the database. 

Carl Engelking January 30, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Correction: The original article posted indicated that Mr. Fitzgerald earned $17,500 in overtime pay. However, Fitzgerald is not eligible for overtime as he is a salaried employee. That amount would fall under the "extra pay" title in the database.
Team Christine January 30, 2013 at 11:49 PM
& THERE'S Your Entitlements! That's what Welfare IS/Looks like...wow, can I apply? OT @ $17.5K? I've worked Plenty O' overtime in my life...perhaps I should add this up & see how MANY YEARS that took...hmmm. Nice. I want this deal,
Carl Engelking January 30, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Just wanted to bring this forward Correction: The original article posted indicated that Mr. Fitzgerald earned $17,500 in overtime pay. However, Fitzgerald is not eligible for overtime as he is a salaried employee. That amount would fall under the "extra pay" title in the database.
Carl Engelking January 30, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Correction: The original article posted indicated that Mr. Fitzgerald earned $17,500 in overtime pay. However, Fitzgerald is not eligible for overtime as he is a salaried employee. That amount would fall under the "extra pay" title in the database.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) January 31, 2013 at 12:13 AM
STILL OVERPAID FOR MAKING POOR DECISIONS
Jann January 31, 2013 at 12:21 AM
So Carl: what did he get "extra Pay" for?
KHD January 31, 2013 at 12:31 AM
How much did he get in OVER TIME ???????
M. Falls January 31, 2013 at 12:47 AM
I will never vote for an incumbent trustee again. Pay for Play? This is not monopoly money they are wasting - it is taxpayer money. We have more than enough TIFs in the red, and what do we do? Borrow from successful TIFs. Remember, none of the TIF money goes to SDMF taxes, so the true taxpayers are paying a huge sum of money for failure as we, the taxpayers, have inflated tax rates because of the VMF manager and trustees who made bad decisions. Add the Radisson, the stolper properties, Main St. (Toppers Pizza, Walmart grocery - what a find!). The trustees hire the manager, who makes bad judgements and is backed by the trustees. The trustees have to be in bed with the manager. They hired him.,
Kristin January 31, 2013 at 01:18 AM
What about Big Lots that is going in down the block from us in the former Pick n Save bldg!!!! This village is going down hill and so is the value of our home! Thanks so much!
Tim Delores January 31, 2013 at 02:43 PM
M Falls what TIFS are in the red? Last audit report, from independent CPA's, indicates all TIFS are finanacially viable. You read too much of Davis crap. As far as Stolper, they took an old crappy building and WAC/Froetert is building a 20 million dollar building along with Fiduciary apartments. Main st....you would rather have the old 1970 shopping center. The Radisson is a mess, but let's judge when the results are final. I will take kohl's 3000+ jobs, eaton 100+ jobs and others over the low paying restaurants jobs. MF has alot great things going on.
Jann January 31, 2013 at 03:22 PM
There was a TIF that was to expire a few years back and they decided to extend it which means the school district has yet to see any benefit from it. I can't remember which TIF it was, Mr. Davis would be able to answer that for you I'm sure. I can't even keep track of all the TIFs we have. I guess the point is why can't the Falls get businesses to come here without offering them tax breaks? I would like to know how many TIFs Germantown has compared to the Falls. They just got Olive Garden and Buffalo Wild Wings. We had plenty of space for both these places.
Jimmah January 31, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Can someone help me....What is a TIF?
Di Atribe January 31, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Whether classified as "extra pay" or "overtime" it doesn't matter. I know Carl has a journalistic responsibility to be technically correct because he takes libel issues seriously, for all intents and purposes the extra pay is basically just that--extra pay. Call it a bonus similar to the private sector if you want, but it is still unconscionable the Village is paying that much. While many large project are in the works, and I for one appreciate everything from the new Walmart Market, the Big Lots, redeveloping the Stolper site over the long term, and the rest, the point of contention is Fitzgerald is paid too much as compared to surrounding communities. Menomonee Falls doesn't need to continue its reputation of sweetheart deals in the upper echelons of Village management. We already went through that with Greco and the rest cutting deals surrounding the old movie theater, the old Village Manager's double-dipping, the idiotic decision to guarantee the hotel, miraculously deciding a Village trustee was the best candidate out of 75 supposedly interviewed for the school board position, and probably countless other situations we never heard about. It's still criminal we have to pay extra for garbage collection, considering Menomonee Falls is forever losing land to the garbage dump. We're are being paid too little to use and lose the land if we still have to pay a fee every year.
Jann January 31, 2013 at 03:44 PM
A TIF is Tax Increment Finance district. Public money being used to subsidize a project. The school district doesn't get any money from them until they expire.
Pj February 01, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Big Lots are dumps no value to that area place like that will drag it all down.
Sue February 03, 2013 at 04:02 PM
No, he should not be making that much $ salary, especially when everyone in the Village received a "cost of living" raise EXCEPT the 4 Police Clerks!! How does Fitzgerald feel about that....real good that he denied them an increase of about $3,000 total for all four! Disgusting! How did he justify that?
Richard February 03, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Jann, We're with you, we've had serious flooding problems, water main breaks and Beirut style streets in our subdivision for over 18 years qnd they first started to address the problem in the last year, piecemeal I'm told because they don't have the money to do it all at once . Funny they have plenty of money for Kohl's, WalMart, and a hotel. Meanwhile, all of us residents paid our taxes on a regular basis. And, oh yes we pay for all the removal of environmental problems on the site for the new medical building and health club off of Pilgrim Rd.
Richard February 03, 2013 at 05:12 PM
How about the $36,000 for benefits, bet his retirement account is well padded. As for the two jobs thing, what a joke, guess he must not have enough to keep him busy in his Village Manager position. Besides the extra pay more than counts for any extra duties for that second position he's supposedly handling. Let's see, the Village ahs the second highest paid administrator, our Police chief is number 6 in pay, how about the School Superintendent, where does she rank, along with others we don't know about. no wonder no money to fix the streets.
W . Benz February 03, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Sue this is just a start that Fitz has planned . Next round of layoffs will be the Cops and dispatchers then back to Village workers for the next round for them. Do you think a 18 million $$$ dollar hole with Huge Atty fees and all the Corp FREE money comes from the money tree in the back yard. This V. Mangt is out of control and will the blessing of the trustees who hired him will stay until the taxpayers remove the Cabal .
Richard February 03, 2013 at 05:19 PM
OK Carl, extra pay for what, sounds like a synonym for the same thing, come on his overall pay with benefits comes to about $205,000/year, sounds a bit steep to me. Let's see, Germantown gets all the good franchise eating places and we get another pizza joint, wonder if we subsidized them too.
Richard February 03, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Check the roads in front of the houses of Jeskewitz, Steliga and Fitzgerald, wonder if they need fixing, or how the snow plowing works for them.
Richard February 03, 2013 at 05:55 PM
In our case the real problem with the water flooding of our streets and the river that runs in front of our house when it rains or snow melts trails back to a property that is owned by a former trustee. The water drains off of his property down our street. There's a lot more to this story too.
Plow Boy February 03, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Do not forget Kolhs may be bought out, if that happens Menomonee Falls will be holding the bag for the distibution center and loss of Kohl's corporate development on Good Hope Road and 175. Hats off to Kohls to sell off realestate in a down market at full value.
Richard February 03, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Plow Boy, You got that right. Wonder what the pay is for Germantown's top exec or Sussex's (they're getting a Mejiors store and what a wonderful development at K and 164. Maybe we could hire one of them.
Team Christine February 03, 2013 at 10:54 PM
A LOUSY $750.00 p/person? WOW! They're asking the WORLD! omg, I guess $3K more for more important people....
Steve ® February 04, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Extra pay is defined as what? Taking over responsibilities of the guy that left?
Jean February 04, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Here's my comment... I have a family member on the Menomonee Falls Fire Department. With all the recent health insurance changes made for the department, I have a grand-daughter that cannot seek medical attention when it's really needed because one trip to the doctor costs them over $200, and they cannot afford it... I find it appalling that a long term fire fighters... who risks their life every day to protect and serve the Falls, is put in this position. I think it’s time to STOP and RETHINK where and how the money is spent.
W . Benz February 04, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Jean : Were ya been ?? How about the V-employees who were layoff and the future V- Employees who will be layoff down the road. Do you think spending all this money is about you and your family or about Fitz and his friends [ CABAL ] . Did you see how they [ CABAL ] circle the wagons on the Hotel and all the TIF spending and how about Millions to a CORP to build in G.T. Time for you people [ Jean ] to stand up and be heard otherwise just sit back and let the Good Old Boys [ CABAL ] run things because they know what best for you. Watch what Fitz does to the Cop's after they filed a lawsuit on the insurance issue this Guys does pay back in spades . This is MR.Fitz and his MO,,, just ask the taxpayers in Woodland Park CO ,,when a group filed against Fitz and his back room crap he did to them ::::: Look it up yourself....
Realtycheck February 05, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Fitzgerald is a pig. I cannot agree with you more. The high deductible insurance police & fire had to take w/no other options offered (unlike other jobs in the professional world), is a line of crap. Plus the disparity that new hires still have a zero deductible. Absolutely ridiculous. What message are they sending to their long term employees. I hear you.
W . Benz January 26, 2014 at 02:29 PM
Who's paid more than Gov Walker. ?? ----- King Fitz

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