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Newburg board hires new clerk

By McLean Bennett 262-306-5095

NEWBURG — Village Board members agreed this week to hire an interim clerk after a pair of high-profile resignations last month temporarily hobbled Newburg’s administration.

Deanna Alexander will fill the key local government role for at least a few months after her predecessor, Rick Goeckner, abruptly stepped down in mid-May.

The Milwaukee County Board member with other past government finance experience beat out Chris Jenkins for a job that’s expected to include helping Newburg begin writing its next budget.

Board members met for about two hours in closed session Thursday night to interview both candidates. Discussions in open session to fill the position were brief.

Alexander said one of her first tasks will involve familiarizing herself with what’s gone on in Newburg the past few months.

“It sounds like the village has quite a task before it in figuring out how to proceed after some unfortunate rapid resignations,” she told a reporter Thursday.

Goeckner had been Newburg’s clerk and administrator for several years before resigning on May 16 — the same day that Chrissie Brynwood, Newburg’s deputy clerk and treasurer, also handed in her own resignation.

The resignations followed shortly after a local ethics commission in April agreed to censure Rena Chesak, who was then Newburg’s newly elected president, after a former village trustee accused her of violating an ethics policy when she’d served as a board member in 2018.

The ethics accusations, which centered around board discussions last year to renew a service contract with the local fire department where Chesak’s husband is chief, led to some occasionally tense exchanges at meetings this year. A former village president verbally confronted Chesak’s husband during a meeting in May, and a former police official publicly urged board members to sanction the new president as much as the law allowed. The board later declined to levy sanctions against Chesak.

Board members last month agreed to briefly appoint a local resident as Newburg’s clerk in the aftermath of Goeckner’s resignation. Thursday’s hire will replace that appointment.

Besides helping with some budget-writing duties this year, Alexander said she’s also expecting to help village leaders consider redefining her own job description before elected officials permanently fill the role, likely later this year. Depending on how that role is rewritten, Alexander said she will likely apply to retain the job.

An online profile available on the Milwaukee County Board website notes Alexander studied at UW-Parkside, Regent University and the University of Denver. She lists experience in municipal treasury, public accounting, auditing and social service contract management, and has worked for both the state and Milwaukee County.

Besides sitting on both the West Bend Common Council and the Washington County Board, Jenkins is also village administrator for Elmwood Park in Racine County.

The Village Board on Thursday night also agreed to name a local bank employee as the village’s temporary treasurer, another key role the village has needed to fill since last month’s resignations.


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