New Rock County human resources director picked

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Saturday, May 22, 2010
— The human resources director for the union representing most of Wisconsin’s teachers could be Rock County’s next human resources director.

Administrator Craig Knutson has chosen David J. O’Connell for the position, according to a statement released late Friday from Knutson’s office.

O’Connell is the director of human resources and labor relations for the Wisconsin Education Association Council. The council represents 98,000 public education employees, according to its website. O’Connell has worked in the position since 2005.

O’Connell also has worked as the regulation and licensing supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing, the executive director for the United Professionals for Quality Health Care and the executive director for the Minnesota Board of Accountability.

“He’s been on both sides of the bargaining table, which is what we wanted,” said county board Chairman Russ Podzilni. “He’s worked for unions representing employees and as management bargaining with unions.”

O’Connell was one of two finalists for the position, Podzilni said. He did not know the name of the other finalist Friday night.

O’Connell earned a master’s degree in industrial regulations from University of Minnesota and a law degree from Drake University.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minn., according to the release.

If the Rock County Board approves Knutson’s appointment, O’Connell will start work on June 28, according to the release.

O’Connell would replace former Human Resources Director John Becker, who resigned in September while he was being investigated by the county.

The investigation was started after Knutson received complaints about Becker’s interaction with certain county staff members, Knutson previously told the Gazette.

When Knutson talked to Becker about the complaints gathered during the incomplete investigation, Becker denied any wrongdoing, Knutson said.

Last updated: 1:47 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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