Peter Kampfer Kronenwetter administrator

Kronenwetter hires Kampfer as its village administrator after heated meeting

Peter Kampfer Kronenwetter administrator

Peter Kampfer joked that, toward the end of a three-hour, contentious village of Kronenwetter meeting, that he had been a former track athlete and had plenty of opportunity to run away if he’d liked.

But Kampfer, a Wausau native who had previously been hired as village administrator but ultimately turned down the role, hung around last Monday. The board named him as the village’s new administrator, replacing the departing Leonard Ludi. 

Ludi, the village’s public works director turned administrator, resigned recently citing “considerable concerns.” 

Kampfer’s hiring, approved by the board 6-0, was the least contentious agenda item in a meeting that at times was downright chaotic. 

Four staff members, including Village Clerk Bobbi Jo Birk-LaBarge and Communications Specialist Jennifer Poyer, took to the mic during a public comment period to call out board member Ken Charneski as the reason employees don’t want to stay in the village. 

All four staff members cited Charneski as the reason staff members say they no longer want to work in the village, and numerous ex-employees told City Pages in an investigation said the same. 

Charneski didn’t address the allegations at Monday’s meeting but later told City Pages it was a coordinated attack and that the accusations were without specifics or context. Charneski is currently suing the village and LaBarge is named in the suit. He said it was revenge for his filing a Wisconsin Elections Commission complaint against LaBarge. 

Village President Chris Voll said after Ludi sent in his resignation, he contacted Kampfer to see if he happened to be available. Kampfer had been hired by the village late last year but because of legal issues his previous employer was involved in, he was unable to take the job. But those issues have been cleared up and the board unanimously voted to hire Kampfer. 

Kampfer said an administrator ought to be an ambassador for the village. “Good economic development will take you a long way,” he said in a speech prior to his hiring.