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Didier Proud of Service to Tosa; Ready for New Challenges with County

Exiting mayor says she's proud of accomplishments in office and ready to move ahead.

Jill Didier's rise in public office has been meteoric. She ran for alderman of Wauwatosa's 4th District as a newcomer, won, and served only half a term before running for mayor and winning.

Now, she is moving into a four months shy of completing a single term as Tosa's mayor. She will be leaving office, probably in a matter of days, to take a job beginning Dec. 15 as coordinator in a new county Division of Economic Development.

Didier said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that she would be stepping down as mayor, but asked when, she said only that she would need "a few days" while completing the transition of leadership in Wauwatosa.

According to City Code, Common Council President Eric Meaux will take over as acting mayor and will hold that post until a new mayor is sworn in after the April 3 election.

County Executive Chris Abele said at Tuesday's conference that he was "extremely excited when I saw that we had 32 applicants" for the job "and even more excited when I saw among them someone whose work I have admired for awhile already — someone who is going to be about as familiar with the issues that face municipalities as anyone I can think of."

Abele said that in choosing Didier for the job, he was looking for someone who could change the game in terms of economic development from reactive — waiting for opportunities to be brought to the county — to proactive — someone who would get out and beat the bushes for new initiatives.

Abele said Didier and Wauwatosa's track record, including drawing business to the Milwaukee County Research Park and UWM's Innovation Park development on the County Grounds, were key examples of what he wants to see happen throughout Milwaukee County.

"All these things matter only in so far as people know they are happening," Abele said.

Didier said it was "with great pride that I've served Wauwatosa," and that this was "a great opportunity to reach out to all the entities," including the 19 municipalities of Milwaukee County, chambers of commerce and other business organizations.

In a separate interview, Didier said that as mayor she had worked to accomplish the goals as she had campaigned on not quite four years ago.

"One of the things I'm proud of is that I accomplished — whether it was a focus on crime, if it was a focus on economic development, it was focusing on North Avenue, it was focusing on Hart Park — I feel like I've accomplished what I set out to do," she said.

Didier's job change was played close to the vest. Rumors that she was seeking other employment began to swirl around City Hall months ago, but as late as Tuesday morning one source swore she was not taking another job, and another, who is a player in the Democratic Party, said there was "no way in the world" that Didier, a Republican, would be offered a job in the Abele administration.

Abele, in an interview after the news conference, brushed that aside as nonsense.

"I think there's about 1 percent of people who insist on putting everyone into one camp or another," he said, "and 99 percent of people who care only that the job gets done.

"I wanted someone who could work well with people in the business community. I think Jill is that person."

Crazylife December 02, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Really? Proud of her work, what did she accomplish? Most citizens of Wauwatosa do not even know who she is. "Abele said Didier and Wauwatosa's track record, including drawing business to the Milwaukee County Research Park and UWM's Innovation Park development on the County Grounds, were key examples of what he wants to see happen throughout Milwaukee County." These things happened because of Nancy Welch who the mayor got rid of recently. Just sucks that we will still be paying her salary.
Eastside Gal December 02, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Kudos to Mayor Didier! I am very sorry to see her go. Mayor Didier has made a positive impact throughout her public service in Wauwatosa: she led one of our neighborhood associations; she represented her constituents well on the Common Council; she took the lead & was an active voice in meetings of Milwaukee County's municipal leaders; she has been a pro-active leader in bringing economic development to Wauwatosa; and, she made the right call to insist Wauwatosa's residents' voices be heard last spring related to negotiating with City unions before the Budget Repair Bill went into effect. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors! Mayor Didier does Wauwatosa proud!
Eddie December 02, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Didier's loyalty has always been to her own career. I know she applied for State positions and was not selected before she landed this appointment. As for her accomplishments, I agree with Crazylife, Nancy Welch is the one who really got things done on the development front. I'm looking forward to new leadership from a candidate who will be an advocate for Tosa before their own career.
Eddie December 02, 2011 at 04:39 PM
As for Didier's partisan win in vetoing the contracts, you all know that cost the City money right? Around $240,000 to destroy worker moral while we waited for Walker's budget to take effect.
Tosamom December 02, 2011 at 06:07 PM
Well said, Eddie!

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