Kathy Nickolaus hired to be new Town of Waukesha clerk-treasurer

Published on: 3/18/2014

The Town of Waukesha has seen two clerk-treasurers resign in the last three months, with the most recent last Friday. With an election in less than two weeks, the town is now turning to former Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

During a special board meeting Tuesday that lasted nearly two hours and was heated between supervisors, the board approved hiring Nickolaus in a 3-2 vote.

However, it was still unclear after the approval if Nickolaus, who wasn't at the meeting, would accept the position. While the board was on breaks during the meeting, Nickolaus was communicating with Town attorney John Macy as well as sending texts with Supervisor Joe Banske about the position.

At one point, she said she wouldn't take the position unless the vote was unanimous.

That wasn't going to happen because Chairman John Marek and Supervisor Brian Fischer were against hiring her for the position. However, during a second recess and after a second phone conversation between Macy and Nickolaus, she agreed to take the position.

The town found itself in this position after Jeanne O'Brien abruptly resigned last Friday after just one month on the job. She replaced former clerk-treasurer Jamie Salentine as the clerk-treasurer in February. Salentine resigned at the end of 2013.

O'Brien informed the Town board members in an email on Friday afternoon that her resignation would be effective immediately.

"It was a great interim position, which I fulfilled to the best of my abilities, and I wish you all the best," she said.

O'Brien didn't tell the board why she was leaving, but O'Brien has since been hired by the City of Delafield to be its new deputy clerk/treasurer. Similar to the Town of Waukesha, that position in Delafield was recently vacated after its new deputy clerk/treasurer resigned within a month after being hired. The Town was also down staff members with Deputy Clerk Molly Roamer resigning last month. That left Assistant Clerk-Treasurer Eryn Baudo as the only one at Town Hall.

Marek and Fischer were the only ones in favor of hiring Baudo as the clerk-treasurer temporarily. While the opposing supervisors will give Nickolaus their support, they were uncomfortable with hiring her without a formal interview and preferred her in just a consulting role. Nickolaus will be paid about $32 an hour and will stay on until May 1.

Nickolaus, who drew criticism across the state for not including votes from Brookfield in the 2011 Supreme Court race, served as county clerk from 2002 to 2012 before deciding not to seek re-election in November 2012.

She is seeking a supervisor's seat on the county board.