Peter Riggs, the City of Burlington’s new Department of Public Works director, is a native of Janesville and attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

Riggs said he was anxious to return to Wisconsin

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

When Peter Riggs was introduced as the new Public Works Director for the City of Burlington at an Oct. 21 Common Council meeting, the announcement accomplished some of his long-term goals, and brought him closer to home.

Riggs, formerly of Janesville, replaces Jim Bergles, who left in July to fill the same role with the Village of Waterford.

Including Bergles and his predecessor, Craig Workman, who departed in 2015, Riggs is the third DPW director in five years.

The new DPW leader, who had his family with him at the Oct. 21 meeting, told Common Council members he looks forward to the new endeavor.

“I am really excited,” said Riggs, as he introduced his wife, Deanna, and three children, James, 5; Helaina, 3; and Harrison, nine months.

The announcement also brought relief for City Administrator Carina Walters, who took on oversight of the DPW for more than three months after Bergles left in July.

Before taking the role with the City of Burlington, Riggs spent four years with the Village of Grayslake, Ill., where he served as operations manager and assistant to the director of public works.

Riggs, who started his new position on Oct. 26, said the city is well organized and efficient in a Tuesday phone interview.

“My overall feelings are that we have a great staff and some great stuff building,” he said. “I hope to continue providing great service to the people of Burlington. Overall, I think they have a very well-run organization.”

As he settles into the new role, the position helps him achieve several of his goals, including a return to Wisconsin.

Riggs, a Janesville native, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2005 and began working in his hometown.

Riggs served in a variety of capacities with the City of Janesville, including assistant operations manager with public works department. He also was an intern and worked as a seasonal laborer while in school.

While Riggs and his family moved to Illinois for the position in Grayslake, he said always wanted to return to Wisconsin and pounced at the opportunity when Burlington posted its DPW vacancy.

“It was one of several factors,” he said. “I think, we certainly had a long-term goal of coming back to Wisconsin and I wanted an opportunity to take a directorship position and those opportunities don’t come along all too often.”