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Eau Claire’s Top Employee, City Manager Dale Peters, Will Retire this Spring

Tom Giffey, photos by Joel Pearish

Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters.
Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters.

After 30 years with the City of Eau Claire – the last four of them as city manager – Dale Peters announced Monday he will retire in May.

“Eau Claire has a thriving and bright future, and I look forward to working with you for a smooth transition,” Peters wrote in an open letter to members of the Eau Claire City Council, who will soon face the task of hiring his replacement.

“Eau Claire has a thriving and bright future, and I look forward to working with you for a smooth transition.”

During his time as city manager, Peters has overseen the renovation of the historic City Hall, dramatic changes in the makeup of the City Council, the opening of the Pablo Center at the Confluence, and – most recently – a decision by the city to partner with UW-Eau Claire on the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex.

“In my current role as City Manager, I saw my job as implementing the policies of the City Council in a fiscally responsible manner and maintaining high-quality basic services,” Peters wrote. “To create an organization of employees passionate to serve others. To meld a vision for Eau Claire with practical implementation, always respectful that our funding was from precious and limited taxpayer dollars. To help create a city that is not only functional and safe, but meaningful and fun. A place where the old and young can thrive and our students and children will want to stay and call home.”

City Council President Terry Weld told the Leader-Telegram that the process of hiring a replacement will begin as early as next week with a City Council work session. The City Council will have to determine whether to hire a consultant to help with the process, and whether the search will be conducted nationally or regionally.

Peters graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1983. After receiving an MBA from UW-Madison in 1986 and working briefly in the private sector, Peters returned to Eau Claire to become the city’s risk manager in 1989. He subsequently worked as the city’s director of human resources and assistant city manager before being appointed city manager in January 2016. He replaced Russ Van Gompel, who was city manager from 2012 until late 2015.

In the statement announcing his retirement, Peters expressed his “deepest appreciation and thanks for the dedicated, hardworking employees of the City of Eau Claire. This wonderful group of individuals, every day, and with little thanks, go about the tireless work of making sure our drinking water is clean, sewage is properly treated, buses are driven safely, and our streets are well maintained.”

In retirement, Peters said he looks forward to traveling with his wife, Tally; visiting their adult children; and “continuing to serve our community in the years to come.”