After 35-plus years serving the community the City of Webster City will be saying farewell in the upcoming spring to two of its long-term employees. Planning Director Karla Wetzler and Public Works Director Ken Wetzler, married in 2000, have announced plans to retire in April 2022 and pursue the next chapter of their lives.
Ken originally joined the City of Webster City on February 22, 1982 as the City Inspector. He stepped into the role of Utility Director in 1997 and then Public Works Director in 2008. Ken originally retired in 2013; however, his commitment to serve the community was evident and a reflection upon his return in 2016 to help fill-in as the part-time Temporary City Inspector. He was asked to take on his old role as Public Works Director on a permanent basis in 2017. Since then, Ken has served Webster City in the capacity of Public Works Director.
Over the course of his 36-year career with Webster City, Ken has been responsible for overseeing the city’s municipal utilities and various public construction projects. Some of the significant projects Ken has been a part of include the former Webster City Light Plant, the electric utility’s current power generation unit, development of the City’s municipal fiber network, the electric utility overhead to underground conversion plan, various water distribution system projects, and most recently the Second Street Reconstruction Project.
Karla started out as a part-time employee in 1985 with the City’s Inspection/Planning and Zoning Department. In 1988 she became the Planning Coordinator and later transitioned to Planning Director in 2007. In her role Karla has been responsible for administering the City’s zoning code, coordinating with the Planning and Zoning Commission, overseeing building permit and inspections, managing LMI funds, housing programs, served on Webster City’s Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and has had a hand in just about every development project in the community by helping developers, contractors, and residents navigate the city’s development guidelines and process. Some of the recent key projects include the development of the Brewer Creek Subdivision, update of the comprehensive plan, various development and housing studies over the last 30-plus years, and a number of distressed and blighted properties the City has sought to be repaired or acquired to be to be torn down in order to remove a hazard from the community.
City Manager Daniel Ortiz said “The City of Webster City is extremely fortunate to have the employees it has serving our community. Ken and Karla have been pillars of the organization and community over the last thirty some years. They have been a calm and steady presence whose knowledge and history of the community and the city organization has been invaluable. I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for Ken and Karla for their institutional knowledge, service to this community, and commitment and passion for Webster City. They have worked hard to improve neighborhoods, address needs in the community, and ensure safe and reliable municipal utility services. Just thinking of all the council members and volunteer board members who have served our community during their tenure and the different perspectives, questions, and issues they’ve helped Webster City navigate. It has not always been easy but through the challenges, ups and downs Webster City could always depend on them.”
The City of Webster City will appreciate the last few months it has to share with Ken and Karla and wish them the very best in the next chapter of their lives.