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Village board begins search to replace longtime clerk

Dawn Swenson has been the Rib Lake village clerk for 38 years

The Village of Rib Lake is beginning its search for someone to fill the position of village clerk-treasurer, for when after current clerk Dawn Swenson retires.

Swenson has acted as Rib Lake’s clerk-treasurer for 38 years and was looking to retire in another couple of years, but will be departing earlier than planned.

“It was originally March 1, 2022, but in light of some recent things, I just think it’s the sooner the better,” said Swenson Swenson will help transition the new employee into the job, and continue to provide guidance for an undetermined amount of time. “I’d stay no more than a year after they’re hired. But if it’s someone who really catches on fast and thinks they’ve got it, then I might say good bye earlier,” she said.

It was suggested that she could be brought on as a consultant, especially when audit time rolls around.

The person they are looking for to fill the position is preferred to have an associate’s degree, but perhaps more important, they need someone who will fit in with the community.

“Interpersonal skills is high on the list of requirements. No matter how good you might be at a job, you have to be able to work with other people.”

Swenson said that the job requires a large degree of independence to function properly.

“You have to be self-motivated; there’s nobody here. [My boss] doesn’t come in here everyday and tell me what my job is today, only I know it, and the new hire is going to have to get to know it.”

Additionally, the job is involved heavily in election administration, including dealing with absentee voting, which Swenson said has been an immense hassle this year due to the pandemic shutting everything down.

“One thing that really upset me, and I would imagine it upset other clerks across the state, we weren’t even forewarned that they were going to publish out there to the world, that everybody should vote absentee,” she said. “They could have let us know a week or two in advance and we could have had the envelopes completed: stamps on them, our return address on all of them, the ballot certificates filled out with all the information you have to put on it, the date and all that. We could have had so much of that done ahead of time.”

The position is open to those who have not become state certified yet, but they must be willing to become certified and get proper education. One of the education programs, hosted in Green Bay, occurs every second week in July.

“It’s going virtual this year, of course, so they’ll have to do it online. So if somebody is hired, they should be going to this every year for three or four years to get certified.”

Swenson said that since the job has dual responsibilities, the new employee will have to have multiple skill sets.

“The thing is, this job is clerk and treasurer; some municipalities have them separate. Because this position is both clerk and treasurer, they’ll have to go to both [accounting and clerk education programs].”

While not necessarily a requirement, the committee would prefer someone who lives in the village or at least lives within 15 minutes of the office.

“You have no idea how many times I’ve had to run over here on the weekends because someone needed to use a room, we have to come over and unlock it for them. So somebody that lives 15 or 20 minutes away is going to be going a lot of miles,” Swenson said. “I just think when you live in the same municipality that you’re working for, you have more pride in your job.