Following the retirement party for long-time City Administrator Jim Litchfield, the newest addition to the Wakefield City staff has officially taken his seat as the new Administrator.
Chad Mackling, who was hired toward the end of last year, has been gradually transitioning to full-time employment with the City of Wakefield as the community administrator.
The new job completes a circle for Mackling – as he grew up in Emerson and graduated from Wakefield Community Schools in 1999, then moved to Omaha where he started a family and became an entrepreneur of a number of businesses before accepting the offer for the City Administrator position in his hometown area.
The City of Wakefield had struggled for a number of years in attempting to find a replacement for Litchfield, who served the City for almost 20 years, retiring this month.
During those years of searching, Mackling said he had reached out to some locals even as much as five years ago about the job – and at that time his family had a five-year-old and an infant, and the cards just never fell for them to come until recently.
The City offered Mackling a lighter schedule until his Omaha businesses and family schedules could be worked through, and over the last few months he has “trained” with Litchfield and gotten to know the City again, a few days or so a week, gradually increasing, until the full-time request in the initial contract offer, which would start this May.
When asked what recently piqued his interested in the position, Mackling said, “The Reason why I applied and moved forward with the administration role was to elevate a community and try to give it something it was missing. Wakefield is a diverse community unlike a lot of other communities but with that comes opportunity. Those are things I would like to tap into. The other thing would be to get both our farming community and town commerce and business to work together as much as possible.”
Mackling added that he felt that the City government, and its operations, would be similar to a business to some degree. “Managing budgets, construction, code and employees on a day to day basis. There is allot I will learn which I am all for. I feel the Electrical, water and sewer, infrastructure of the community will be a large focus as well as contractual needs. I have allot of experience in managing budgets, employees and construction. The more time I spend in the position the more I get to know every day. I do not expect to start right where Jim Left off, he has a wealth of knowledge and I will consider reaching out to him as he has opened that door for me as well,” said Mackling.
For his part, Mackling also added his vision for where he’d like to lead the City into the future, adding that he’d like to work to make sure, and keep, the current projects the City already has started are in good, working order.
“The new apartments, the wood shop, downtown revitalization and the bin site demolition would be a really good start,” said Mackling about the current projects the City already had a start on. “We have a need for more housing, and I am personally working on trying to get some things built for the retirement aged members of our community. I have a passion for beautification of our city. That could be the highway corridor project, civic center in general or even as small as planters and pots in the downtown corridor. The park will be a focus as I feel that is one of our biggest attributes the community. I would like our community members to step into roles that might not otherwise want to do or be a part of. Having the community work as a whole would be a very satisfying accomplishment.”
With his lead-in period, and May approaching, Mackling said that his goal is to work with everyone on the same platform, and if they needed help or guidance, he would do his best to accommodate that.
“I would also like to say that my experience so far has been great and that city staff has been great to be involved with,” said Mackling.