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Council appoints new city clerk

More on the new city clerk in a future edition of the Regional News after he officially starts in his capacity as the clerk.
October 05, 2011 | 08:38 AM
With the departure of City Clerk Jeremy Reale set for later this month, city officials moved swiftly to find a replacement.

On Sept. 26, the council confirmed Mayor Jim Connors' appointment of Michael Hawes as the city's new clerk. The confirmation remains conditional on Hawes acceptance of the contract and background check.

Hawes, who will start in the position on Oct. 18, just days before Reale is supposed to leave, has been the special projects coordinator in the village of Shorewood. He has a master's degree in public administration, and according to Alderman Tom Hartz, is "an energetic, bright young man who will be a real asset to the city."

Hawes said Tuesday he is "excited for the opportunity," but did not want to speak further about the position until the contract is complete and he is officially the clerk.

The city's Personnel Committee, led by Hartz, narrowed the candidate list to four, who came in for interviews. Hartz said Hawes "really stood out."

City Administrator Dennis Jordan said everyone was "impressed" with Hawes during interviews. He said although Hawes hasn't been a clerk, he filled in as clerk on a long-term basis in Shorewood.

Jordan said Hawes helped with elections and is familiar with agendas and the duties of the position.

According to the Janesville Gazette, in February, Hawes was one of four finalists for the village administrator position in Clinton.

The city also is talking with Reale to determine how much training he will provide to Hawes and how long he is needed to stay on board. That has yet to be determined.

Reale decided in July to leave the city, just more than a year after arriving in Lake Geneva from Rantoul, Ill.

"I'm going back to higher education to pursue the law," Reale said in August. "That was what I intended to do when I graduated seven years ago. Instead, I went to work, but at some point you have to decide what you really want to do.

"I have been doing clerk work for years and it's not like I don't enjoy what I'm doing," Reale said. "It's just I think there's more I could be doing in life."

Reale, who is from Rantoul, Ill., which is close to Champaign-Urbana, plans to return to the University of Illinois-Springfield to complete his masters degree in public administration. Then, he plans to attend law school.

Reale replaced longtime clerk Diana Dykstra, who left in 2010 to take on the position of the village of Darien's administrator/clerk-treasurer. Dykstra still is with the village of Darien. She had been the clerk in Lake Geneva from 2002 to 2010. Prior to that, Colleen Alexander was the city's clerk for many years.

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