City Manager Matt Trebatoski will be leaving Fort Atkinson in November to become city administrator/treasurer in Oconomowoc.
Trebatoski said Monday that he is planning to accept the position upon confirmation by the Oconomowoc Common Council, and intends to start his duties there on Monday, Nov. 9.
“My last day with the City of Fort Atkinson would be Friday, Nov. 6,” Trebatoski said, noting that he shared the news with each of the city council members a couple of weeks ago.
“I have truly enjoyed working and living in the City of Fort Atkinson and it will be really hard to say goodbye,” he said. “My family and I have made a lot of friends, both personally and professionally, and wish the community the very best.
“I feel that I am leaving the city in a good position financially and in the capable hands of both City Council and department head leadership. The city has taken positive steps over the last several years that will ensure the community’s ongoing and future success,” Trebatoski added.
On Saturday, Fort Atkinson City Council President Mason Becker had confirmed that Trebatoski planned to accept an offer from Oconomowoc.
Becker said that Trebatoski “is perfectly happy in Fort Atkinson and was not looking to make a move.”
He explained that Oconomowoc’s hiring process for a city administrator/treasurer apparently had not yielded a finalist, so a search firm contacted Trebatoski and other individuals with similar professional experience and asked them to apply. He did, and came out the top choice.
“I spoke with him (Friday) and he let me know he had a finalized offer and he would be accepting it,” Becker said. “I shared that while we hate to be losing him, we are very excited for him and this opportunity.”
In a memorandum to the common council dated Friday, Sept. 11, Oconomowoc Mayor Robert P. Magnus announced Trebatoski’s appointment and asked for members’ confirmation.
The mayor told the council that he was “ready to make an appointment of an exceptional individual with the background, experience and integrity that is a right fit for our community,” and then asked for confirmation of the hiring.
A motion is on the agenda for the Oconomowoc Common Council’s Tuesday, Sept. 15, meeting.
Trebatoski will be at that meeting, which takes place at the same time the Fort Atkinson City Council meets, Becker said. The council president noted that on Monday, he would start looking into firms to help with Fort Atkinson’s search for a successor.
Trebatoski said there will no type of resignation action item on the Fort Atkinson City Council agenda until sometime after the Sept. 15 meeting in Oconomowoc.
“He does intend to stay for the complete budget process, at least until early November,” Becker said of the city manager, who with his family plans to move to Oconomowoc.
Becker said that, during his five years on the city council, Trebatoski has been an “excellent” city manager, “constantly receiving extremely high-quality performance reviews.
“Obviously, we would love to keep him in Fort Atkinson, but Oconomowoc is a littler bit bigger, along the interstate, and has a lot of things going for it,” Becker said, adding that there was no way Fort Atkinson could match Oconomowoc’s offer.
The council president said that Fort Atkinson has made tremendous strides during Trebatoski’s tenure, especially relating to infrastructure and parks, including the new Wheels Park.
“Matt has been a big part of all that,” Becker said. “He is an involved leader and a tremendous talent and it is a shame to lose him, but this is a new opportunity for Matt and his family.”
He noted that both he and Trebatoski are 40 years old, “and that is a good time to look at the next opportunity.”
A University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate, Trebatoski majored in political science and public administration. He then went on to UW-Milwaukee, where he earned a master’s degree in public administration in May 2005.
Trebatoski worked for more than two years for the Village of Johnson Creek, first as an intern and then, upon completion of his master’s degree, as the assistant village administrator, prior to coming to Fort Atkinson in May 2006 as city clerk/treasurer.
He was named acting city manager in February 2014 following the resignation and signing of a separation agreement with City Manager Evelyn Johnson.
He had not been among the 45 candidates to express interest in the position during the search process from which Johnson eventually was hired in 2012.
However, two years later, he was ready for the job. In July 2014, the Fort Atkinson City Council selected Trebatoski as city manager.
Trebatoski will succeed Sarah Kitsembel, who resigned as Oconomowoc city administrator. Ironically, she also also has had Jefferson County ties.
A Lake Mills resident, Kitsembel is a Jefferson native who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1997. She served as accounting coordinator for Jefferson County from 1998-2001.
She left to become finance director of the City of Oconomowoc, where she was promoted to city administrator upon the resignation of Diane Gard in January 2017.
This past June, Kitsembel reportedly left Oconomowoc to become the City of Brookfield’s deputy finance director.
Fort Atkinson has had seven city managers during the community’s 88 years under the city manager system.