Milwaukee official chosen as interim Newburg clerk

County supervisor gets nod from Village Board after two staff members resign

Deanna Alexander
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Newburg Village Board voted last week to hire a Milwaukee County supervisor as the interim village clerk, three weeks after the former clerk and assistant clerk abruptly resigned.

Trustees chose Deanna Alexander — who represents the 18th District on Milwaukee County’s northwest side bordering Ozaukee, Waukesha and Washington counties —over Washington County Supr. and West Bend Ald. Chris Jenkins, who also is administrator for the Village of Elmwood Park in Racine County.

At the same time, officials at Newburg State Bank agreed to handle village finances until a permanent treasurer could be found.

Alexander’s hiring is contingent on the board and Alexander agreeing to a contract. 

If they do, Alexander will begin work at Village Hall on Tuesday, June 18, Alexander said.

Former clerk and administrator Rick Goeckner and assistant clerk and treasurer Chrissie Brynwood resigned May 16 following several tense months in village government centered around allegations of ethics violations by Rena Chesak, a village trustee who was elected president in April.

As a trustee, Chesak was found by the village Ethics Commission to have had a conflict of interest when she discussed the village’s contract with the fire department because her husband, Mark Chesak, is fire chief.

Although a former village president and former assistant police chief, among others, urged the board to sanction Chesak, they voted not to last month after Village Attorney  Ian Prust pointed out the village ethics ordinance had no penalty language.

Goeckner and Brynwood both said the atmosphere at Village Hall had become so tense they felt unsafe, complaining that they were being watched by a supporter of Chesak.

In an interview, Alexander said the job as interim administrator and clerk will be a “challenge.”

“The village is going through a little bit of a crisis period,” she said.

“The previous administration did not give notice and did not  leave many bread crumbs or a paper trail” for village officials to follow. “The payroll duties were not even handed over.”

Alexander said the contract, if approved, will call for her to work full-time for the village for three or four months to help prepare the 2020 budget and put together a plan for the village to move forward.

“It sounds like the (Village Board) is very interested in me providing administrative advice and guidance to allow them to make the best decisions,” she said.

That includes whether village staff should be full or part-time and staffed by one or two people

A salary for the interim clerk position has not been set, Alexander said.

Chesak did not reply to an email seeking comment.

Alexander is in her third term on the Milwaukee County Board, having been first elected in 2012. She faces re-election in April 2020.

Alexander said she is interested in serving Newburg permanently as clerk and said “it’s too early” to say whether she could remain on the County Board and work as clerk.

Alexander has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and is working toward master’s degrees in public administration from Regent University in Denver and taxation from the University of Denver.

She has worked in Milwaukee County’s Behavioral Health Division and the state’s Department of Children and Families and as a financial consultant with school districts, according to her online biography. 

Alexander served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 57th Field Artillery Brigade from 2002 to 2008, during which she was deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist in border control.

“I have been working in government a long time, and I’m looking for something to put me more in the administrative direction,” she said, explaining why she is interested in the position. 

“I understand the perspective of an elected official. If it was a perfect situation with no problems, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge would it?” she said.

“At least in the interim role I feel confident I can leave them in a better place than they are now.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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