Getting to know Guttenberg's new city manager

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Millville area resident Denise Schneider will begin her duties as city manager of Guttenberg on Monday, Sept. 11. The Schneider family, from left, are Abi Jostand, Brody Schneider, Taylor, Lori and Phillip Ludovissy, Ron and Denise Schneider. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Millville area resident Denise Schneider will begin serving Guttenberg as city manager on Monday, Sept. 11. “We had five applicants or inquiries and we interviewed three outstanding and experienced candidates,” said Mayor Russ Loven. “All three could have fit our needs and expectations, but Denise rose to the top in our final decision making process. She has a great educational background that prepared her for city management and has a well-rounded career with experiences that will benefit the City of Guttenberg.”  Schneider holds associate’s degrees in both business and marketing, as well as a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a minor in criminal justice. She’s a certified municipal clerk, certified municipal finance officer, and master municipal clerk, and has 24 years of municipal experience including 15 serving as city clerk, administrator, and manager. Most recently, Schneider worked as the city manager for the cities of Marquette and Garnavillo. 

“I like working with people and I like to see communities flourish and community projects accomplished,” Schneider told The Press. “Years ago I started out as a city clerk/treasurer and figured out that I really like the work. I decided I wanted to work for the City of Guttenberg because it is my hometown and I love the community.”

Schneider was born in Oelwein, spent most of her childhood in West Union, and graduated from high school in Guttenberg. She and her husband Ron have two grown children, Lori (Taylor) Ludovissy of Whitehall, Wis., and Brody (Abi Jostand) of the Millville area. They have one grandson, Phillip. In her spare time, Schneider enjoys spending time with family and friends – especially her grandson – reading books, traveling, riding ATVs and camping. 

Guttenberg has been without a city manager since the departure of Mary Willet in July of 2016. “Despite the challenges of not having someone in that position, we did have a good year with many accomplishments. Our office staff, as well as other employees, really stepped up to the plate and did an outstanding job. As a part-time mayor I basically worked full-time,” Loven told The Press. “I intentionally wanted to experience the opportunity of leading the city without a city manager to determine the challenges and get a realistic feeling of the needs of a city like Guttenberg. Although Guttenberg is only a city of 1900 population, it is complicated and has the needs of a city two to three times its population. We had to work hard, long and smart to maintain general operations, and at the same time keep progressing into the future of this complicated world. We all determined that there was a need for a professional and experienced city manager, and we wanted to fill the position as soon as possible.” 

The city faces challenges with its electric utility, flood wall, FEMA, changes with the municipal hospital, economic development, replacement of the Garber bridge, the need for a new swimming pool, physical growth of the town, improvement of the municipal building, housing and jobs, stated the mayor during a public forum earlier this summer. 

“Denise has been very successful in writing and finding grants that benefit city government. We have accomplished a lot this past year, but we still have several big projects ongoing and more needing attention. We have been so busy this past year with regular operations that it hasn’t allowed us to spend much time with our comprehensive plan and strategic planning.  I personally feel a sense of relief already, and look forward to working with Denise during the next few months,” said the mayor.

Schneider accepted the city manager position during the Aug. 7 meeting of Guttenberg’s city council. Terms of Schneider's employment agreement provide for an annual salary of $63,000 for a three-year term with three-year renewal. 

“I want to keep making improvements around the community including water, sewer, electrical, streets, parks, housing, and recreational projects. I want to help the city do as many great projects as possible while still staying within the city budget,” said Schneider. “I look forward to working with the people in the community and helping make Guttenberg an even better place to live, work, and play.”

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