Lake Geneva has lost its longtime harbormaster, and officials are considering making changes in the position responsible for many management issues on the city’s lakefront.
Harbormaster Chuck Gray retired in late May after many years on the job that gave him oversight of pier, slip and buoy rentals, as well as taking bookings for the Riviera.
The harbormaster typically works between 20 and 25 hours a week and is paid about $19 an hour.
Donna Crook has been hired as interim harbormaster for this summer, but aldermen are unsure whether to keep her on year-round, as had been the practice with Gray.
Members of the city council’s personnel committee discussed the issue June 4.
City Comptroller Karen Hall told aldermen that although the workload is heavy during summer, the job slowed down to just about eight hours a week during winter.
“It is a year-round, but very part-time, position,” Hall said.
Aldermen are considering trimming the harbomaster’s duties to eliminate booking weddings and other events at the Riviera.
Alderwoman Selena Proksa said the position should be more focused on maintaining facilities than planning events.
“”So the person would really be in charge of the Riviera facilities, the overall beach staff and lakefront issues,” Proksa said.
The city separately is considering establishing an events manager position, or using the tourism commission’s special events coordinator, Stephanie Copsey, to schedule events at the Riviera and elsewhere.
Alderwoman Shari Straube said the harbormaster could work with the special events coordinator to make sure people working at events have access to the Riviera.
“He’s not booking the Riviera, but he’s responsible for getting the caterers in and out, tables in, and the security guards in and out,” Straube said.
City officials have discussed using municipal court defendants to provide assistance under community service assignments for their court offenses.
Municipal Judge Henry Sibbing said he could send juveniles who need to complete community service hours down to the lakefront area to assist the harbormaster.
Sibbing said the new harbormaster could serve as a mentor to the youth.
“Nobody wants to take responsibility for mentoring them and supervising them and mentoring them,” Sibbing said. “Maybe they could use three or four of my community service kids to work out $500 worth of fines.”
Alderwoman Cindy Flower questioned if the city would still need a beach manager if a harbormaster and public works employees were monitoring the lakefront.
“It sounds like to me that we got too many cooks in the kitchen,” Flower said. “To me, it seems messy.”