County Executive Parisi Extends Gratitude to Commissioner of Dane County Department of Highway and Transportation

February 28, 2023
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive, Public Works Highway & Transportation

Commissioner Jerry Mandli to Retire Next Month

One of Dane County’s long serving, multi-tasking department heads has decided that the time has come to retire, after more than 30 plus years of work on innovative, environmentally and fiscally responsible, technical projects and operations in the solid waste, public works, and highway industries on behalf of Dane County.

County Executive Joe Parisi announced today that Jerry Mandli, P.E. Commissioner of the Dane County Highway and Transportation Department, will retire next month, more than three decades after he was first hired as the Solid Waste Manager for Dane County. His first day on the job for Dane County was July 6, 1992. His last day will be March 17, 2023.

“Jerry’s innovative approach to addressing challenges and collaborative team problem-solving has led to tremendous growth and success in the work he oversees, especially as his departments have faced unique issues here in Wisconsin’s fastest growing county,” Parisi said. “Jerry is a gentleman and even in the most challenging times, he has been there with kindhearted empathy and a sense of humor to raise the spirits of those around him. We all wish him and his family the best in retirement or whatever his next adventures bring.”

Jerry was first appointed the Commissioner/Director of the Consolidated Public Works, Highway, and Transportation Department beginning in December of 2003. His duties over the years included oversight of the Public Works Engineering Division, all three Highway Divisions, as well as all of the operations for Dane County's Solid Waste/Recycling Division. This includes management of landfill operations; compost sites; recycling efforts; Clean Sweep; design and oversight of Dane County construction and facility improvement projects; highway operations, maintenance, and road construction. He served in that capacity until 2019 when the newly formed Waste and Renewables division was spun off upon commencement of the landfill gas-to-pipeline project. In 2022, the Public Works Division was decoupled from the Highway Department and joined with Administration due to the increased number of projects the county has embarked upon and to gain efficiencies. 

Jerry’s first job with the county was serving as its Solid Waste Manager, leading a landfill expansion approval effort that postponed the county’s need to develop a new landfill site while developing the county's landfill gas-to-energy projects. These projects produced electricity for 5,000 homes per year and provided Dane County with an important, non-tax based revenue source. He was instrumental, through education and economics, of helping redefine the landfill as an asset versus a liability. Jerry has also been a mainstay in the Emergency Operation Center, representing Public Works and Highway for almost all activations from floods, tornados, and power failures to winter storm emergencies. He departs county service as Highway Commissioner, work that helped him oversee development of new highway facilities, the purchase of new equipment, and addition of staff to support a growing demand for highway maintenance and operations as the county continues to grow.

Mandli said, “I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with talented people, in teams in the Executive’s Office, the Public Works, Solid Waste, and Highway Divisions, Administration and in committees and on the County Board and almost every county department at some point. It has been an adventure where WE have been able to address real problems of real people almost every day. I have never taken this realization for granted and am not sure you can ask for more than that, in a career in service. Thanks for the many, amazing opportunities, and I hope the innovative risks you have participated in with me, have been worth the rewards.”

Parisi has named Pam Dunphy, current Deputy Commissioner of Highway and Transportation, as Interim Highway Commissioner. Dane County will commence a search and recruitment for a new fulltime Highway Commissioner in the coming weeks.

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