SUSSEX - Assistant Village Administrator Melissa Weiss and Parks and Recreation Director Sasha Darby submitted their resignations to the village just weeks apart, but Village Administrator Jeremy Smith said it's purely coincidental.
“They’re not related at all," Smith said. "Sasha found a job in another industry. Melissa has been looking for a little while now and I’ve been helping her in that process. I knew Melissa was on the job hunt before I knew Sasha was looking, so they’re really not related to each other at all."
Wauwatosa City Administrator Jim Archambo confirmed Weiss had accepted a position as the communications manager with the community, effective April 11.
Weiss will step into a brand new role with the city, as the communication manager position was created based on a study conducted by the city last year.
"In a pool of highly qualified candidates, Melissa quickly rose to the top as a very solid, experienced candidate, especially pertaining to her knowledge of local government," Archambo said.
Weiss will have a "wide breadth of responsibilities," according to Archambo, but the tasks will be similar to work she has already been doing in Sussex, including work with local media, social media management and citizen outreach.
As a Wauwatosa resident, Weiss will be "three minutes away from the office with heavy traffic," according to Archambo.
Weiss has been with Sussex for six years; she submitted her resignation to Smith at the end of February.
"Melissa has been a great employee and has helped us accomplish so much," Smith said. "I really do wish her the best of luck in Wauwatosa. It’s always sad to see great employees leave, but that is the nature of our business, especially an assistant type of position. You bring in young people, you help them develop and they’re ready to move on to other opportunities, especially when you’re a community of Sussex’s size. Melissa leaving was not a surprise to me. Like I said, she has been looking and I was happy to help her in that process and provide her a good recommendation. Sad to see her leave, but she gave us a good five years and that’s a nice run for an assistant.”
Replacing Weiss will take a few months, according to Smith, but in the meantime, he's taking on her work load.
“I mean, I’ll be very busy," Smith said. "Human resource stuff is something I’ve done a lot before Melissa got here, so I’ll step into more of a role with HR stuff and public works leadership. We have some staff in public works that have been developed and ready to go, so we’ll handle it. It doesn’t work forever, but in the short term, it can certainly work. I’ll just be very busy.”
Smith addressed some rumors circulating in the community that Clerk/Treasurer Casen Griffiths is a candidate for the assistant administrator position.
“Casen may be an internal candidate, but we generally see what the whole marketplace has to bear, but that’s not the case when there’s someone who has been here a long time," Smith said. "Casen has been here less than a year.”
Smith plans to intentionally leave the position open for some time so the needs of the village can be identified accurately.
"Generally speaking, in the village of Sussex we leave positions open for a couple months to make sure we have the right job position we’re going out for as far as what skills and things we’re looking for," Smith said. "It’ll be a couple months that we’ll have the position open and then we’ll go out to replace that position.”
Her last day in Sussex will be Friday, March 31.
"I am excited about the opportunity to work for the community where I reside and to take on this new role," Weiss said. "Sussex is a great community. I have enjoyed my time working for the citizens of Sussex."
Darby has been working as the parks and recreation director for nearly four years. She will leave the village Friday, March 10, for a customer service position with a custom home builder.
"It was amazing to be part of a community that is so involved," Darby said. "Any kind of park and rec activity we planned, we got droves of people out, which just made my job and work I put in worth it.”
Smith said he hopes to fill the vacant positions with equally talented employees.
"When you’re a community our size, the reality is you get employees for a short time and they do great things for you, but then they cycle on to the next opportunity," Smith said.