Early Monday afternoon, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and the city water utility general manager David Denig-Chakroff announced the latter's departure effective September 21. The manager has long been criticized for his performance at the utility with regards to communication and water quality, with calls for his resignation building over this year.
Members of the Madison Common Council and the Madison Board of Water Commissioners were asked by The Daily Page to share their thoughts about the announcement on Monday afternoon. Their thoughts follow.
Ald. Mark Clear
I'm relieved by the agreement and believe it's equitable to all parties: the City, to the Water Utility and its customers, and to Mr. Denig-Chakroff. Fair or not (actually plenty of both) Denig-Chakroff had become the focal point for criticism of the utility. Denig-Chakroff may be a perfectly capable manager and may be skilled and knowledgeable technically, but may not be the leader that an organization in crisis needs. I look forward to the search for a strong leader who can help move the Madison Water Utility forward.
Ald. Paul Skidmore
I am not surprised that David Denig-Chakroff and the City of Madison will be parting ways. I know that there have been some significant problems that have been associated with his management and communication styles in the past several years. I have always liked David and been able to work with him. Recently (within the past two weeks) my constituents experienced some significant problems with elevated fluoride levels from Well #28. These problems were exasperated by some poor communications among water department administration, their staff, and the apparently affected community members. I expressed these concerns with the Mayor's office and the Public Works Department.
I wish David well in the future in whatever he chooses to do. I hope that the City can find a new Water Utility Director that can unite the Department, manage the City's water needs, and communicate effectively with the public.
Ald. Brenda Konkel
I have mixed feelings about David Denig-Chakroff leaving. I'm afraid this action alone won't bring the changes that the public expects to see. There are other remaining issues with top management at the Water Utility and until we see either a major attitude adjustment or other personnel changes, I believe some of the issues with communication and management are going to continue.
While ultimately, David Denig-Chakroff is responsible for this, I'm not sure his leaving will solve the problems. I don't think the City or the Mayor does a good job with assisting and supporting top managers that are struggling with management issues. I wish him the best of luck in the future.
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