Hans Schneider is an early riser.
The new Wellington mayor kicked off his first day in office before the sun rose. Village workers met their new mayor at 7:30 a.m.
This was after a full weekend that included being sworn in as mayor on Saturday (a second swearing-in was performed Monday) and then officiating at his ex-wife’s wedding ceremony and moving into his office.
The employee meeting was a chance for Schneider to meet with 30 village workers and let them know, “I appreciate the work that you do… We may not always be on the same page or in agreement on a speficic issue, but overall we’re going to move forward in a positive direction.”
Employees will continue to get training and tools necessary to do their jobs. “We’re redoing our pay scale. We will never be the highest-paid community but we can’t afford to be the lowest,” Schneider said.
The new mayor’s priority on his first day was employees because they impact everything else. “That first impression of our community is through our employees,” he said.
He invited workers to attend council meetings, though most usually don’t. “If you work here and live here you have a right to ask questions,” he said.
New hires will be asked to attend council so members can put names and faces together. “We’re a small enough community there should be a family atmosphere,” he said.
Other Day One tasks included meetings with village manager Steve Pyles and police chief Tim Barfield. Normally, Wednesdays will be Schneider’s day at village hall to meet with department heads and tend to business. He plans to work some weekends, too, allowing access for residents who can’t make it in during the week.
The schedule will be posted on the Wellington Facebook page.
A dialysis nurse by training, Schneider has been on council since 2001, so he’s used to juggling his schedule to accommodate city meetings.
The first major order of business will be finding a new finance director since Karen Shaw is leaving as of Jan. 12. “It’s a key position within the village and we want to make sure that first time we get up we hit a home run,” the mayor said.
Schneider spent the rest of the day cleaning out files, organizing his office, figuring out the phone system, and getting ready for the first city council meeting as mayor.
“It’s humbling and I’m appreciative of the opportunity,” he said, reflecting on his new job. “I’ve never feared failure, I’ve feared not trying. My only agenda is to maintain the positive in this community. I tell my kids, ‘Find your Wellington.’ Whether that’s you coming here after a career in the military or somewhere else, find your Wellington and be active in that. Take an active role.”
Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.
Catherine Gabe | Wellington Enterprise
New Wellington mayor Hans Schneider moves his office furniture around and sets up housekeeping in his new works space at town hall.