City Staff

Rod Akey

Rod Akey

City Administrator & City Engineer/Public Works Director

City Hall

Rod Akey is City Administrator and City Engineer/Public Works Director.

Prior to his appointment in 2016 as Public Works Director/City Engineer, Rod was a civil and environmental consultant for more than 20 years. Rod grew up in Merrill, and lived in the City for most of his life. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UW-Madison. When he isn’t overseeing the Street Department, Water and Waste Water Utility, Rod enjoys hunting, fishing, sawing lumber, and spending time outdoors.

Corey Bennett

Corey Bennett

Police Chief

City Hall

Corey Bennett is Police Chief.

Prior to his appointment in 2017 as Police Chief, Corey was Police Captain for the City of Merrill, Police Chief for the City of Ladd in Illinois, and worked as an officer and dispatcher. Corey grew up in Peoria, IL. He spent his childhood summers, and sometimes winters, visiting family in the Merrill/Wausau area.

From a young age, Corey knew that he wanted to live in northern Wisconsin, and raise his family here. He moved to Merrill in 1997. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration with a minor in Sociology and Electricity/Electronics from Western Illinois University. He earned an associate’s degree in Police Science from Illinois Central College. He also attended the Law Enforcement Recruit Academy at Northcentral Technical College. When he isn’t managing operations at the Merrill Police Department, Corey enjoys hunting, fishing and boating.

Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden

City Attorney

City Hall

Tom Hayden is City Attorney. He provides legal counsel to City of Merrill employees and elected officials. Prior to his appointment in 2002, he was City Attorney for the City of Superior. He has more than 40 years of experience practicing law.

Tom grew up in Neenah, WI, but spent most of his professional career living in Marshfield, Madison and Merrill. He holds a bachelor’s degree in History from UW-Madison, and he earned his juris doctor degree from Marquette University Law School. When he isn’t providing legal counsel, Tom enjoys fishing, yard work, and touring various places in Wisconsin.

Josh Klug

Josh Klug

Fire Chief

Fire Station

Josh Klug is Fire Chief. Prior to being appointed in 2018, Josh was Deputy Fire Chief at the Wausau Fire Department, and Fire Chief at the Mosinee Fire Department. He started his career as Fire Fighter for the Merrill Fire Department (MFD) in 2002.

Josh grew up in Merrill, and has lived there most of his life. Josh holds a bachelor’s degree in Fire & Emergency Response Management from UW- Oshkosh. When he isn’t managing operations at the Fire Department, Josh enjoys coaching youth sports and spending time with his family.

 

Kathy Unertl

Kathy Unertl

Finance Director

City Hall

Kathy Unertl is Finance Director. Kathy also serves as Secretary to the Merrill Redevelopment Authority (RDA). Prior to her appointment in 2003, Kathy was City Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer for the City of Warroad, MN.

Kathy grew up in southeastern Wisconsin. She moved to Minnesota, and then to Merrill, WI. She holds a joint master’s degree in Public Administration and Urban & Regional Planning from UW-Madison. She earned her bachelor’s degree in American History from UW-Madison

When Kathy isn’t preparing City budgets, conducting financial analysis, and extensively planning and managing Tax Incremental Districts, Kathy is most likely watching sports. She is an avid sports fan, and especially loves cheering on the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gabe Steinagel

Gabe Steinagel

Utilities Manager

Water Garage

Gabe Steinagel is Utility Manager. Prior to his appointment in 2016, Gabe was Utility Operator for the City of Merrill.

Gabe grew up in Merrill. He holds an associate’s degree in Natural Resources from Fox Valley Technical College. When Gabe isn’t managing operations at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, Gabe enjoys being outdoors and spending time with his family.

Dustin Bonack

Dustin Bonack

Street Superintendent

City Garage

Dustin Bonack is Street Superintendent. He is responsible for daily operations, budgeting, scheduling, projects and more. Prior to being in appointed in 2016, Dustin was Public Works Superintendent for the City of Tomahawk.

Dustin grew up in Mayville, WI. He moved to Tomahawk, and eventually to Merrill in 2017. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management with a minor in Business Administration from UW-Platteville. Dustin loves to hunt and fish, and doing outdoor activities with his family. His happy place is at the cabin, and spending summer weekends on the boat. Each year, he and his father fish in a two-day musky tournament. He’s proud to say that they’ve taken third place twice!

Laurie Ollhoff

Laurie Ollhoff

Library Director

T.B. Scott Free Library

Laurie Ollhoff was recently named Library Director at T.B. Scott Free Library. Laurie has worked in various schools and public libraries in North Central Wisconsin for more than 20 years. Prior to her appointment in November of 2022, Laurie worked in libraries at Wausau School District, Edgar Public Schools and T.B. Scott Free Library. She started her career as a paralegal. Laurie grew up in Wausau, WI. She loves helping people, meeting others, and learning about new technology. “Learning is a journey, not a destination,” is her favorite quote. When she isn’t at the library, Laurie can be found sewing, taking photos, gardening, or doing some sort of hands-on activity.
 
Laurie holds an associate’s degree in legal studies from Northcentral Technical College, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Silver Lake College. She earned a teaching license in general education from Marian University. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from University of Wisconsin System School Library Education Cooperative (UWSSLEC), and a master’s degree in education from UW-Whitewater.
Dan Wendorf

Dan Wendorf

Parks & Recreation Director/City Forester

Smith Center

Dan Wendorf is Parks and Recreation Director/City Forester for the City of Merrill. Since 2002, Dan has been responsible for maintaining the City’s parks, forest, trails and athletic fields. He also manages the Smith Center Arena and Bierman Family Aquatic Center facilities and events. As City Forester, Dan is responsible for tree inspections, evaluations, removals, trimming, planting and more.

Dan grew up in Merrill and returned to his hometown after graduating college. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Forestry/Forest Recreation with a minor in Environmental Education from UW-Stevens Point. Besides his passion for the outdoors, Dan loves playing and watching sports. He coached his own children in baseball, softball and basketball until they entered high school. He also likes to hunt and fish.

Brad Brummond

Brad Brummond

Transit Administrator

City Hall

Brad Brummond is Transit Administrator. He is responsible for day-to-day operations, including grant writing to secure funding for unique community services without relying on local taxpayers. In fact, Merrill’s transit system is the only one in the state of Wisconsin – and one of the few in the nation – that will pick up and drop off residents in front of their homes.

Brad has worked in the transit industry since 2007. He was a driver and safety manager before joining the City of Merrill in 2015. He started as Transit Coordinator, and was promoted to Transit Administrator in 2017. Brad is from Wausau, WI. He holds an associate’s degree in Marketing from Northcentral Technical College. In his spare time, Brad enjoys fixing up his home, riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, spending time on the water and camping.

Tammie Mrachek

Tammie Mrachek

Enrichment Center Director

Merrill Enrichment Center

Tammie Mrachek is Director of the Merrill Enrichment Center. Prior to her appointment in 2014, Tammie owned a consulting and training business, and also taught in the Business and Management department for both Cardinal Stritch University and Lakeland College, in the classroom and online.

Tammie grew up in Ironwood, MI and later moved to Milwaukee, WI. She relocated to Merrill in 1999. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing/Management from Northern Michigan University, and a master’s degree in Management from Cardinal Stritch University. Tammie is passionate about health and wellness, and was an athlete in college. In fact, Tammie played basketball at Northern Michigan University and still holds the 3-point shooting percentage record!

Darin Pagel

Darin Pagel

Building Inspector/Zoning Administrator

City Hall

Darin Pagel is Building Inspector/Zoning Administrator. Since being appointed in 1991, Darin is responsible for evaluating residential properties and ensuring that they are up to code.

Darin grew up in Waupaca and moved to Merrill in 1991. He has earned multiple certifications in the state of Wisconsin. In his spare time, Darin loves to spend time outdoors. He enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and riding his ATV.