The city of Ripon’s top staff member is planning to retire in a little more than a year. That means the city may be just a few months away from starting to look for her replacement.

   Lori Rich, who has been city administrator since 2011, has shared with city employees and other city officials that she intends to retire May 28, 2021.

   “She’s going to be retiring next [year],” Mayor Gary Will said of May 2021, noting she intentionally gave the city a lengthy notice of her intention to retire. “She grew up here and went to school here. She worked for the city for a long time [before] she became city administrator. She wants to make sure the city of Ripon is in a good place when she leaves.”

   This will set in motion what Will expects to be a deliberate process to find her successor.

   “After the election in April, the Common Council should start the process of looking,” he said. “... I think that after the next election, they should start the process almost immediately. My feeling right now is they should have somebody hired and onboard January of 2021.”

   Will, however, will not be mayor after the election, as he also is retiring from the post following his current, 10th term.

   But if the city follows his advice, this would avoid the problem the city of Ripon had in 2011, when then-City Administrator Steve Barg left for a similar position in the city of Marshfield, Wis., in early January, after announcing he’d be leaving in late fall.

Read the full story in the Jan. 9, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.