City of Portage, WI – Clerk

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    The City of Portage, known as the gateway to the Northwoods, is the largest municipality in Columbia County with a population of 10,659 and the County seat. Located in the southern portion of central Wisconsin, the city is located in the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area and adjacent to the Stevens Point Micropolitan Statistical Area; only 30 minutes from the City of Madison and adjacent to the Wisconsin Dells recreation area. As the Madison area continues to grow economically at a monumental pace, Portage and its neighboring communities have been attractive to those who are looking for more affordable with a high quality of life alternative to the City and its suburbs. Portage’s easy access to Interstate 39 and 94 and U.S. Highway 51 adds to its regional attraction The popularity and close proximity of Wisconsin Dells is also an important economic asset to the City of Portage, which also has an impressive commercial and industrial base.

    Incorporated in 1854, the City of Portage lies in a unique geographic location between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, one flowing north to the St. Lawrence, the other to the Mississippi, the two being separated by a narrow strip of land where early users had to portage to one stream or another. This unique location provided the impetus for the City’s long history of economic success. The city has excellent neighborhoods with a range of housing choices, award winning schools, a bustling historic downtown, an active Business Improvement District that incorporates the downtown central business district, a growing highway business district and a thriving industrial base. Portage maintains its connection to the past with many historic sites and buildings on the National, State and Local Registers of Historic places.

    Portage’s location along the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers provides an abundance of water recreation activities such as fishing, canoeing, kayaking and boating. The city’s park system also provides ample opportunity for its citizens to enjoy a wide variety of recreational amenities. In addition to the recreational facilities within the city, the Swan Lake State Wildlife Area and Pine Island State Wildlife Area are both located less than two miles away. The area also boast some of the best hiking and biking trails in the State of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Dells recreation area provides year round nationally known entertainment and recreational opportunities.

    The Portage City Clerk position is a department director-level position, supervised by the City Administrator and oversees a Deputy City Clerk. The position serves as the statutory Clerk pursuant to State Statutes. The Clerk responsibilities include maintenance of records; issuance of licenses; monitoring and ensuring Open Meeting Law compliance; performing secretariat functions of Common Council; maintaining payroll and employee benefits system; administering employee insurance, pension, and benefit programs; oversight of elections; and performance of City Hall administrative and customer service functions. The position is essential to the Portage management team. Portage has a $24.8 million total annual budget including General, Capital Projects, Special Revenue, TIDs, Debt and Utilities Funds. The city employs 81.25 full-time positions, 12.3 part-time positions, and approximately 80 seasonal positions.

    The City Clerk is appointed and is confirmed by the nine-member Common Council. All elected city officials serve three-year overlapping terms on a non-partisan basis.

    Qualified candidates will have a minimum of five years of administrative support or office manager experience, preferably in a government organization; an Associate degree in accounting, bookkeeping or related field will be considered if less than five years of experience. Experience as a municipal clerk and being a Certified Municipal Clerk with Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association is highly desirable, or candidate should have the ability to obtain certification within four years of hire.

    The successful candidate will have experience in local government financial operations; election administration, human resources, as well as office management. The next City Clerk must have leadership abilities, team building skills, the ability to work harmoniously with elected officials and organizational staff, a high level of emotional intelligence, and have had stable and productive tenures in previous positions.

    Starting salary range is $70,000-$85,000 DOQ plus excellent benefits.

    For more information, visit the City of Portage, WI website.

    Send cover letter, resume, references, and salary history in a single PDF by March 6, 2023, 5:00 p.m. CST to with email subject: City of Portage, WI, City Clerk Search. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Darrell Hofland, Public Administration Associates, LLC, at (920) 627-4538.

    Confidentiality must be requested by the applicant and cannot be guaranteed for finalists.

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