By Mike Heine
(Published Feb. 16, 2007, 4:38 p.m.)
The wait is over.
Walworth County has its new health and human services department director.
On Tuesday, the county board unanimously approved Linda Seemeyer, the Milwaukee County director of administrative services, to take the helm.
Seemeyer will take over a department that underwent a massive and stressful restructuring the last two years under the tenure of her predecessor, Diane 'Dani' Maculan.
"So far it's been great," said Seemeyer, who will start on Monday, Feb. 26. "I'm sure nothing is ever easy. It's a complicated department. (Interim Director Dr. David) Thompson took me around and introduced me to people. They were very friendly and smiling. It looks like a great place to work."
Seemeyer said she'd like to get her feet wet first before saying what her first priorities will be, but they will likely include a planned merger of the Lakeland Health Care Center into the HHS department.
"I'm sure looking at the nursing home operations will be a part of it and seeing if synergies are possible," Seemeyer said. "Also, how we can maximize state and federal dollars to maximize service."
Seemeyer will earn $108,014 annually plus county benefits, totaling $129,262. She will work at the pleasure of County Administrator David Bretl.
Maculan resigned Aug. 14, 2006. Her restructuring of the department supposedly saved the county millions through added revenues and cost savings. However, department employees often criticized her management style and people skills, creating tension among the ranks and causing some employees to resign..