Wessel set to start Sept. 14 in Hortonville
By Scott Bellile
A leader in land conservation, planning and zoning for Lincoln County will become Hortonville’s next village administrator beginning Sept. 14.
The Hortonville Village Board selected Diane Wessel as its village administrator hire at a meeting Thursday, Aug. 6. Wessel, who currently serves as land services administrator for Lincoln County, will leave her job in Merrill to fill the void left by Hortonville’s former village administrator Patrick Vaile.
Hortonville Clerk-Treasurer Lynne Mischker said Wessel is a strong hire due to her knowledge with planning and economic development and her enthusiasm for the job. Wessel outlined strong ideas for the future of Hortonville during her interviews, Mischker said.
Wessel, a Green Bay native, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in forest management from UW Stevens Point in 1994, according to her LinkedIn profile. As current land services administrator for Lincoln County, Wessel said she manages a $1.3 million budget and handles grant writing and administrative duties.
Before joining Lincoln County in 2014, Wessel worked 16 years as a planner for Marathon County. She handled emergency management planning, sewer service planning, redistricting and other duties. She said she has worked with everyone from law enforcement to state and federal agencies to citizen groups.
Hortonville Village President Traci Martens said the village began the hiring process in February. The village narrowed down dozens of applicants to five for the first round of interviews and two for the second round.
“We were looking for an administrator who could be the face of Hortonville and help drive us forward in our growth goals,” Martens said. “Diane had some great ideas and enthusiasm for how she could take us to the next level in that area with creativity and well thought planning.”
Martens said the village implemented a long but thorough background investigation as part of its new standard hiring procedure. Hirers checked medical background, criminal history, financials and work history.
Mischker said police officers talked to candidates’ neighbors, family and employers.
“We told our candidates we’re being very cautious,” Mischker said.
Outside of work, Wessel said she is active with United Way as well as the North Central Conservancy Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to conservation in central Wisconsin. She enjoys photography.
“I am excited for both the position and getting closer to family,” Wessel said. “I have family in Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac.”
Martens said Wessel’s first duties on the job come September will include budget discussions and strategic planning initiatives for 2016.
“We are excited to welcome her to Hortonville and look forward to introducing her to everyone in September,” Martens said.