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Wauwatosa mayor to resign and take county position

Didier to work as liaison with suburban communities

Dec. 01, 2011
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By Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel

Dec. 01, 2011 0

Wauwatosa Mayor Jill Didier said Thursday she will resign Dec. 15 to take an economic development job with Milwaukee County.

Didier, 42, has been Wauwatosa mayor since 2008 and served on the Wauwatosa Common Council for two years before that. She also serves on the board for the Milwaukee County Research Park, the Visit Milwaukee board and the Council on Workforce Development.

County Executive Chris Abele said Didier would work as a liaison with suburban communities in an effort to boost the county's role in economic development.

Her experience in Wauwatosa was a key asset Didier brings to the county job because of the great development potential at the County Grounds, Abele said.

With Didier, Abele also gets a prominent local Republican in his administration, as Abele has been striving to display his independence and willingness to make moves unpopular with Democrats as he gears up for a re-election bid.

Abele is a Democrat, but the office of county executive is nonpartisan.

He angered union members and some liberals by insisting on a no-tax-increase budget for 2012, although the County Board added nearly $6 million through overrides of Abele vetoes.

Didier was hired to a vacant county position that pays between $62,500 and $74,400. Her exact pay has not yet been determined, said Brian Taffora, the county's economic development director.

As Wauwatosa mayor, Didier was paid $22,500 a year. Raising the mayor's pay to $30,000 is under consideration by the Wauwatosa Common Council.

Abele said that, with Didier on board, the county would step up its development efforts, which had been largely moribund in the recent past.

"We are changing that model," Abele said. "We are going to have people at every chamber of commerce, every large business, every institution that prepares the workforce and strengthens it, every strategic planning committee that we can be at.

"And we are not going to be there making lectures. We are going to be there to help and to partner to cheerlead and to share opportunities," he said.

About Steve Schultze
Schultze joined the Milwaukee Journal staff in 1985, covering state government and politics from the paper's state capitol bureau in Madison. He also served as Madison bureau chief for five years. Following the Journal-Sentinel merger in 1995, Schultze shifted to the paper's investigative/enterprise team, where he co-authored series on abusive teachers in the Milwaukee Public Schools, influence peddling in the administration of Gov. Tommy Thompson and shortcomings of a $3 billion regional sewer system upgrade. In 2007, he began covering Milwaukee County government. Schultze is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Journalism.
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