July 8, 2009

Friedel gets six-year deal to lead city's day-to-day operations

Update: Friedel is meeting with Dickert and City Attorney Rob Weber today to hammer out a contract. He'll likely be on the job Monday.

Some people have asked about the City Council's oversight of the contract. The council gave approval last night for the mayor and city attorney to work out an agreement, and the contract will not come back to the council for further approval.

Friedel said he planned to talk with the press tomorrow morning after the contract is finalized.

Also, below I wondered about Friedel's role in removing the previous administrator. I've been assured the city administrator's job was a total surprise to Friedel and that he had no eye on the job prior to being offered the position.

And an interesting fact: The city administrator is the only person in the city who gets a contract.

Original post:

And just like that, Tom Friedel is Racine's new city administrator. A few notes on the selection:

* Based on knowing Racine and city government, Friedel is highly qualified. You could argue he knows City Hall better than anyone anywhere. He'll start off with instant respect from city officials, a luxury past administrators didn't have.

* Friedel was smart to get a six-year contract. While the dollar amount isn't set, if past administrators are a sign, he'll be making over $100K a year in his new job. (That's quite the upgrade from the $6,900 paid to aldermen.) It provides long-term security for a job that, in any government, can disappear quickly.

* It's always concerning when someone intimately involved with the dismissal of the previous administrator takes over his job. Friedel worked out an agreement for Hughes to resign and now has Hughes' old job. I'm interested to know (and probably never will) who suggested Friedel for the city administrator job.

* This is a big step toward re-election for Dickert. Friedel hadn't ruled out running for mayor in spring 2011 and would have been a formidable candidate. Now he's making more money than he would have as mayor and is in charge of the city's day-to-day operations - without the hassle of an election.


  1. Highly qualified? Running city hall is the same as running a large multi-million dollar business. What had Friedel done in the past that qualifies him for this position?

    Sitting on city council helps to understand some areas, but when it comes to the day to day operations and handling employees and internal problems and finances, what makes him highly qualified?

    Being an alderman and running city hall are two entirely different jobs.

    Instead of using adjectives like "highly" qualified, how about just listing his qualifications without throwing your personal opinion in?

    My opinion is that Tom Friedel, while I agree he would be knowledgable about the workings of government proceedings, he is not qualified to take on the huge position of city administrator.

    If you really don't know who suggested Friedel as city administrator, ask Gary Becker.

  2. i find it amazing that the city council approved this appointment WITHOUT seeing the terms of the contract.

  3. Hey as long as he is highly qualified (well according to www.racinepost.com) then who gives a hoot?

  4. When filling a position it should be the intent to get the best person available for the job. Without doing a search, you'll never know if Friedel is the best person or not. I don't think John was using his best judgement by handling filling the position as he has. I am not saying that Friedel is not up to the task, but I also think a fresh new face, fresh ideas and a Master degree would have been helpful.

  5. Racine will never advance as long as we put unqualified people into a position of leadership. Can't we get a mayor, administrator, council members who have at least attempted a collage education?

  6. Tom Friedel is a heckuva nice guy, but is that enough ...?

  7. Friedel's qualifications also come from his years of work as a high up manager at Twin Disc.

  8. But the question remains - is he the best person that was available for this position.

  9. Dickert has ruined this city faster than Becker or Smith could have ever imagined.

  10. Anon 11:25 - that comment is just nonsense.

  11. The good Ole' Boy / Cousins system is alive and running city of Racine Taxpayers.

    In 2 years when Dickert gets bounced out of city hall, Friedel will negotiate a sweet deal to also leave city hall with all his loot.

    We must have THE DUMBEST city council in all of history.

  12. Dickert is so transparent. 6 years will keep Friedel away from running for Mayor until 2015. Dickert thinks he will be re-elected not having to run against Friedel.....WRONG!!

    Are city of Racine residents this stupid??

    Thanks Colt!!! (What job have you been promised from team Dickert/Osterman??)

  13. Anon 11:27

    Why is that nonsense?

    What has he done about addressing crime?

    Maybe you know more than I do. Please share (And don't give me the "He's only been in office a short time" bullshit).

    Thank you.

  14. Anon 11:27 - Crime has been around along time and has intensified the past couple years - so you think Dickert should have it under control in a couple months? I do believe when anyone takes on a new job in the private sector or public no matter how much education and or experience there is a certain amount of time that is allowed for a learning curve - therefore I do not think it is BS.

  15. So Friedel was a "HIGH UP" manager according to a blogger.

    Tell me please in more detail what that means.

    Just how many people did he oversee and what were his job duties?

    There are plenty of "high up" people in every business, however it does not by any means make them qualified for a job of this magnitude.

  16. I need to move7/08/2009 12:24 PM

    Wow. Tom Freidl was given a 100K bribe by Dickert!

    Racine is lucky to have them working together - alone they could not done this sweet deal.

  17. college degree doesn't make you any smarter than someone who has COMMON SENSE. That is something we are missing in this city, plain old fashioned common sense along with the guts to take on the problems that are over running this city. We have to have people that actually give a darn running our city than people that want the glory and no work

  18. One more against!

  19. A college degree and particulaly a masters degree certainly gives you additional skills than someone without.I can tell you that no major private industry would hire an individual at $100,000 + without at least and under graduate degree and more likely a masters degree. Public offfice should be no different.

  20. Why was he given a six yr contact? If Dickert loses in a couple of years the new mayor cannot bring in his choice? Dickert hired him to work for him and he is guarenteed a job until retirement. Must be great to have all the power.

  21. I agree with you completely anon 12:52. The only ones who feel a college degree isn't important are those that don't have one.

    Putting that aside, on top of not having a college degree, Friedel just does not have the necessary experience.

    I do not see anything in his past work experience that puts him even close to being qualified, let alone "highly" qualified.

  22. I suspect Friedel brings a knowledge of Racine and a combination of capabilities that would be tough to find in any search for "the best" candidate. This way, the work begins now and the city (and the mayor) will be better off in the near-term.

    A six year contract sounds like an unusually high level of job security -- not likely to be found outside of government.

    Best of luck to him.

  23. Friedel may have the knowledge of this town (and it's not a great thing to have somedays) what about the determination to make this city proper, to grow, to help the citizens that live here day in and day out. You can know it all but if you aren't a results person that really gives a darn, doesn't matter

  24. Degree?, Didn`t the last administrator have one?? And what became of him???

  25. Results are good.

    On the other hand, as individuals we really have to make our own results. One just gets OLDER waiting for government to solve all our problems.

    Create your own breaks...even though it's so much easier just to complain and sit in front of the computer.

  26. Anon 4:03 - yes there are many educated fools out there it's true. It would be difficult to do worse than the last city administrator.

    But,it is still important to have the education and experience to fill a position as important as this. Tom Friedel has neither.

    Ideally we should have someone with both education AND experience. Ben Hughes had the educational requirements but lacked the experience.

  27. It amazes me how Mayor Dickert does not feel that he owes the people of Racine any explanation as to how he is running and making these bogus decisions with out any regard for what the people have to say about it. Maybe the people will realize sooner than later that that this is the pattern and mold that Gary Becker started with and HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! The political appointments and chroney form of government is at it again. I learned that if you LIVE BY THE SWORD, YOU DIE BY THE SWORD!!I wish I could hire my cousin and poo poo it off as it was the correct thing to do. Ethics, I do not believe that he can even spell the word. Have fun people but I am already campaigning to get this guy out before the monster raises its head again. How do you spell John Dickert, the answer is Gary Becker!!!!!!!!

  28. Dickert will NOT be re-elected in 2011. Too many shenanigans already in just 6-7 weeks.

  29. It's a crying shame the council would vote to approve someone without knowing what his wages, benefits, etc. are. If you remember back when Steve Nenonen(?) was approved, the council also did not know the exact details, they only listened to Becker. When it came time for Steve to leave, there were a number of aldermen who actually said they didn't realize how much the total package was (salary and benefits). If we continue to re-elect these same people to the council, NOTHING will change or improve. It is early in the current mayor's term, but he has shown us his weaknesses and true colors already.

  30. To Dustin and Pete:

    Tomorrow I will be calling the Journal Times for this tip I am about to give you regarding Gary Becker.

    Gary Becker (and an unknown friend) has bought a foreclosed home located at 1019 Kingston Ave.

    He is dumping all kinds of money into the home (Appx. 15-20 thousand dollars by his own admission) in an attempt to fix it up and sell it.

    He is there from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM every day and has been there for the last 5 weeks working on the home.

    Current Alderman Coe is constantly at the home as well working on it (prior to his heart or chest related problems last night where he was taken by an ambulance from city hall) with Becker.

    My concerns are this:

    (1) Where is this guy getting the money to fix this home up and what person in their right mind who may be facing years and years in prison would be doing this? Is their a side deal already in place with the DA's Office in which he knows he will only be getting probation??

    (2) Becker has gone out of his way to shake hands with all the neighbors in the area telling them who he is and what his intentions are with the home. Is this guy so arrogant that he has no shame in being seen in this city?? Reaching out to the neighbors in the area making sure they know who he is??

    (3) there are many, many young girls (ages 10-15) that live in the area who I believe may be at risk.

    (4) Checking city hall records, there is NO MENTION that Gary Becker bought the foreclosed home and that he is the current property owner. The property owner is shown as Federal Home Loans or something like this. Why????? My mortgage company still owns my home, but my name appears in the city records. Who's going to loan this guy over 100,000 dollars knowing their is a big chance he will be going to prison and unable to pay the loan back???

    (5) How is it that a current alderman (Coe) can still have contact with this guy?? Are there city regulations prohibiting this until he is found either guilty or innocent at trial?? Ethics issues???

    (6) What are his conditions of bond?? Can he be around young girls on a constant/daily/routine basis?? Can he be in possession of a cell phone that could be an avenue for him to have questionable images on it??

    Please feel free to go to 1019 Kingston avenue and interview Mr. Becker and ask him these questions and whatever other questions you might have.

    The telephone number on the "For Sale by Owner" sign in the front yard of the home is 414-651-6538 if you want to call him and ask him about the house for sale.

    I feel REALLY uncomfortable about him being in my neighborhood day in and day out.

    Something doesn't seem right with this. Am I paranoid?? YOU BET, and I have good reason to be based on his pending charges.

    Here is your chance to beat the JT to this story.

    Thank you.

  31. Anon I think his brother Attorney John Becker bought the house. I don't know why it wouldn't say his name though.

    Jeff Coe probably needs extra money since he got laid off.

    Gary Becker is still in contact with Alderman Weidner and Tom Friedel.

    I think racinepost should also ask Becker if they interview him whose idea it was for Friedel to be city admin.

  32. Anonymous 9:54 - that's all very very interesting information.

    I would consider it an ethics issue and just plain poor judgment for any elected official to be in contact with Gary Becker right now.

  33. That phone number shows it being a UNITED STATES CELLULAR CORP. - WISCONSIN number. If you pay a fee you can get the owners name and details but I can't afford to pay $14.95 for the info.

  34. Dustin and Pete, you ever wanted to be a credible news reporting source now is your chance. If the Post wants to be this feel good Racine info then I think everyone should leave this to the Gary Beckers and John Dickerts. It does not surprise me that this activity is going on because they just feel that they can do what ever they want to do. I am serious this guy will not be thew Mayor after this term. Wake up Dustin or you will see this on every blog the you POST. What do you guys classify as news, what ever happened to the records you were seeking from City Hall? Did you and Pete get brought out like the erest of these people. Alderman? Where are you cowards when it comes to ,looking after the people. You self absorbed worthless group of ---s.

  35. Anon 8:47 - What a pleasant post. Maybe you should get a job for Dateline. Some people are not happy unless they can kick up dirt. As far as I am concerned - this is a news website - not an investigation website. Anon 8:47, maybe we should dig up some dirt on you.

  36. I wouldn't consider finding out what our former mayor is up to while he awaits his trial to be "digging up dirt". Good reporters do their own investigating as well.

  37. Who cares what he is doing - that is up to the courts.

  38. Just goes to show what a liar Dickert is. During his campaign he purported that Racine didn't need a city administrator, nor the expense that went along with it. Then what does he do? He appoints his buddy for 6 YEARS! That's well over half-a-million-dollars it's costing the taxpayers, with salary, perks and benefits. Thanks for screwing us again Dickert!

  39. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  40. Actually, Dickert said repeatedly during the campaign he wanted to keep the city administrator's position. Turner was opposed to it.