Over his 19 years working for the county, Walworth County Administrator Dave Bretl has overseen projects that gave several buildings and facilities new looks.
Those projects included the new courthouse, health and human services building, sheriff’s office, public works facility and Lakeland Health Care Center.
And before his retirement in early 2020, Bretl also could see the county’s administrative building in downtown Elkhorn display a new name over its doors.
County Board Chairwoman Nancy Russell proposed a resolution that would authorize naming the county’s administrative building in downtown Elkhorn as the David A. Bretl Government Center.
She said she expects the matter to go before the executive committee at its Monday, Nov. 18, meeting—where she has “no doubt” it will pass—before coming back to the full county board for approval Tuesday, Dec. 3.
“It’s a real honor,” Bretl said. “It was a surprise and a deep honor for them to consider something like that.”
He said he has been “blessed” to have so much help and so many talented people around him for all those projects, including renovations to the very building that some at an earlier time “neglected and ignored” and could soon carry his name.
The resolution also praises Bretl for leading the county toward paying off the money it borrowed and becoming debt-free in 2018.
“I usually don’t like a lot of attention,” he said. “I feel like I did my best here. I worked my hardest. ... I’m just very, very humbled.”
Walworth County has positioned itself as perhaps the only debt-free county in Wisconsin.
Bretl appreciated seeing this come from Russell, who joined the county board in 2002, the year after he started with the county as administrator and corporation counsel.
“That’s what she wanted to do. And when Chair Russell wants to do something, well, she does it,” he said with a laugh.
Russell said Bretl, 55, who lives in Wauwatosa, wanted to spend more time relaxing and being with family. The application deadline to find his replacement recently closed, and Bretl said he thinks interviews will start in the coming weeks.
Russell praised Bretl for his collaborative working style, for rarely taking days off, for his committed involvement in every meeting and for the humor he brings out in his column he writes for local newspapers.
David Bretl said he has tried to effect change during his 18 years as the top administrator in Walworth County government. Now, change is coming for him.
But she knows that “nothing lasts forever.”
Russell, who said she got the idea from a similar situation in Washington County, thinks the whole county board agrees Bretl deserves recognition.
“He’s done a remarkable job,” she said. “Nobody will ever really be able to replace him.”