UECKER – ‘THE STATE OF THE CITY IS STRONG’
Doug Uecker has always been interested in how city government works — something he really learned to appreciate as the city’s first-ever development coordinator in 1994-95.
“I enjoyed it then and have followed it and enjoyed it since,” said Uecker, who became even more involved last summer when he was appointed by Mayor Michael Walter to a one-year term as a Ward 2 city councilor. “I like looking at the big picture.”
Uecker will get a chance to do that even more now that he has been hired as the city of Freeman’s new finance officer. Uecker was among about a dozen who showed interest in the position and one of several applicants for the position; he was offered the job on a unanimous vote of the city council Thursday night, July 8 and will officially begin Monday, July 26.
“That one year on the city council definitely motivated me,” said Uecker, whose seat at the council table will be filled by appointment. “I learned a lot and it sparked my interest. The state of the city is strong and the outlook is very good. This is a good time to come in and try to help Freeman continue to grow.
“We’re in one of those cycles where things will be exciting.”
The city had been advertising for a finance officer since Adam Van Ningen resigned in early March. In the interim, the council named Lisa Edelman — the city’s former finance officer who now holds that office in Menno — as temporary deputy finance officer and has also relied on additional help from Lisa Jensen, the city’s administrative assistant, and Carol Eisenbeis, the city’s marketing and development director.
While the city has gotten by, having Uecker come into the position isn’t a moment too soon.
“It’s been four months,” Walter said. “I’m busier than I should be and knew we needed to get somebody in that office.”
Uecker is the right person for the job, he said.
“I have every reason to believe, after his year of being on council, that he will do a great job. He’s got the personality to handle it, he deals well with people and he’s a numbers guy. He’s got some things to learn, but he’s got a great teacher in Lisa Edelman. She’s the best there is.”
Walter said having Uecker leave the city council and step in as finance officer is bittersweet.
“Mixed emotions,” he said. “Doug was a great councilman; he’s a detail guy. I lose that now, but he’s going to be a great finance officer.”