ELKHORN—Walworth County District Attorney Dan Necci has resigned three months before the end of his term.
Necci submitted a letter of resignation to the state Aug. 23, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Gazette. His resignation was effective Oct. 2.
Necci told The Gazette on Friday he has taken a position in the private sector out of state, but he declined to say why he resigned his DA post before the end of his term, which expires in January.
In the April 5 election, Necci lost to Daniel Johnson in a race for a Walworth County judge seat. Necci did not seek re-election as district attorney.
Haley Johnson was promoted from assistant district attorney to become deputy district attorney.
After Necci resigned, Johnson requested Walworth County judges appoint Zeke Wiedenfeld, the candidate who is running unopposed to replace Necci in the Nov. 8 election, as a special prosecutor, Wiedenfeld said. He started in that role Oct. 4.
“I have all the powers of a prosecutor. It's just that I haven't been hired or appointed as an assistant district attorney or a district attorney,” Wiedenfeld said.
Johnson is in charge of the office, and although Wiedenfeld said he has discussions with people about how he would potentially run the office in January, he said he recognizes the hierarchy.
Part of the judge's order, Wiedenfeld said, sets compensation for his work.
He said he is working about 40 hours a week for $50 an hour for in-court work and $40 an hour for out-of-court work. Those rates are determined by state statute.
Although special prosecutors are typically appointed for one case, Wiedenfeld said his situation isn't as common and the pay is being used to cover his general work hours.
Wiedenfeld said he was brought in “to help keep everyone from drowning” in larger workloads and was glad to be working in the office.
“I'm just excited to get in here as soon as possible and help out and work,” he said. “So for me, I was happy to get that call.”
Wiedenfeld had to resign from his previous position as a non-partisan court commissioner for the county to run for district attorney, a partisan role. He was an assistant district attorney in Walworth County for five years before judges hired him as a court commissioner.
Wiedenfeld won the Aug. 9 Republican primary against Rich Sullivan, an assistant district attorney in Rock County, with 65 percent of the vote and is running unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election.
Before being appointed district attorney in 2012, Necci worked as an attorney in the private sector.
“It has been a true privilege to serve the people of Walworth County and to represent the State of Wisconsin as a prosecutor,” Necci wrote in his resignation letter. “I will cherish the memories of my time here forever."