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Dunn County appoints Wathke as clerk

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  The Dunn County Board of Supervisors has appointed Julie Wathke as county clerk to fill out the remainder of the term left by the death earlier this year of  Marilyn Hoyt.

The Dunn County Board approved Wathke’s appointment at the September 18 meeting.

Wathke has served as the clerk-treasurer in the Town of Sherman for the last ten years and also is employed as the payroll and benefit clerk and the community education coordinator for the Boyceville school district.

“I have a strong passion for government, and I love doing the job (of clerk-treasurer). I love serving the residents (of Sherman),” Wathke said during a telephone interview the next day after the county board meeting.

Wathke noted that she has served ten-and-a-half years as the clerk for the Town of Sherman, and nine-and-a-half years as the clerk-treasurer.

Regarding her application for the county clerk’s position, “I felt it was a good career move for me,” she said.

“It’s tough to leave the town. The town board and the residents (of Sherman) have always been supportive of me,” Wathke said.

“I’m confident (the Sherman Town Board) will find a good replacement,” she said.

Chuck Maves, county board supervisor from Boyceville and a member of the Sherman Town Board, told the other county board members at the September 18 meeting that replacing Wathke in the township would not be easy.

“I’ve worked with Julie for ten years. It’s a loss for the Town of Sherman, but it’s a gain for Dunn County,” Maves said.

All together, 33 people applied for the county clerk’s position.

Dunn County officials asked the Town of Sherman for references, “and there is no question that Julie has been a tremendous asset to the Town of Sherman,” said Dan Fedderly, chair of the Town of Sherman.

Throughout the years that Wathke has served the Town of Sherman, she has been diligent about obtaining additional training for the clerk’s position and working on other training, such as training related to elections and election law, he said.

“It’s not the best thing for Sherman, but it is a definite benefit to the county. We are looking forward to working with Julie in her new capacity,” Fedderly said.

Serving as a clerk on the town level, or for a village or a city, or for a county, requires real dedication and a desire to serve the public.

“This is what Julie does. This is her profession,” Fedderly said.

Even though losing Wathke is difficult for the Town of Sherman, “we never hesitated. We only encouraged her and supported her in the whole process,” Fedderly continued.

Following the appointment by the Dunn County Board, Wathke sent her letter of resignation to the Town of Sherman.

The Sherman Town Board has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, September 26, to formally accept Wathke’s resignation and to begin the process for hiring the next clerk-treasurer.

The Town of Sherman has a five-member board, and a number of years ago, the township changed from electing the clerk-treasurer to making it a hired position, Fedderly said.

“We congratulate her … it’s always good to have one of our own as the county clerk,” he said.

Dunn County Clerk Marilyn Hoyt died June 4 after being ill the past several years.

Hoyt began working in the county clerk’s office in 1984, became the deputy clerk, and then was elected as county clerk in November of 2006 after Dunn County Clerk Lorraine Hartung decided to retire.

Hoyt was sworn in as county clerk at the Dunn County Board meeting in January of 2007, served a two-year term, was elected to a four-year term in 2008, was again elected for another four-year term in November of 2012 and officially took the oath for her next term in office in January of this year.

Under the current appointment, Wathke will serve the remainder of Hoyt’s term until January of 2017.

Steve Rasmussen, county board supervisor from Boyceville and chair of the Dunn County Board, swore in Vickie Wente, Dunn County deputy clerk, as acting clerk on June 4.

The Dunn County Board subsequently appointed Wente as acting clerk at the June 19 county board meeting.

Judy Albricht, clerk-treasurer for the Town of Tainter, was appointed as chief deputy clerk for Dunn County.

Following Wente’s appointment as acting clerk, the Dunn County committee on administration advertised the clerk’s position, took applications, interviewed candidates and recommended Wathke to the county board to be appointed at the September meeting.