WASHBURN COUNTY -- (DrydenWire.com) -- Washburn County Health & Human Services (HHS) Director, Jim LeDuc, has tenured his resignation effective March 4, 2022, providing a two-month notice to assist in the transition.

LeDuc started his employment with Washburn County as the Mental Health & AODA Coordinator in 2001. “My intent for coming to Shell Lake was to manage this new program area and give Washburn County residents the highest quality of services while keeping a watchful eye on the financial end,” LeDuc told DrydenWire looking back on when he first started. “My plan was to stay for 5 years tops but I made it 20 years because the opportunities to continue to serve the residents were endless and the professionals I work with are outstanding.”

LeDuc says that his dream was to be a Health & Human Services Director. His dream came true in 2014 and says it’s “been a heck-of-a-ride” ever since.

“I am so proud of what Health & Human Services has been able to achieve in serving the people of Washburn County. Since 2014, we have greatly expanded quality services to better serve the mental health & AODA populations, children with differing abilities, and prevention programming that will pay off 10 fold in the future. We also recruited, trained, and retained the best staff and management team out there, this feat has raised the level of quality of all programs, of which I am most proud.”

The HHS Department has one of the largest Departments in Washburn County with over 40 employees. It also has one of the largest operating budgets hovering around $5.5 million dollars. As it relates to the tax levy, however, LeDuc says that going into 2022 only $1.2 million of the overall budget will be from local taxes. Since he has been the Director of HHS, LeDuc says that that the management team and staff have been able to reduce the Washburn County tax levy for HHS programming by $350,000.

As of late, LeDuc says that his interest has been in leadership development across the board; internally, in the community, Statewide, and with the youth. “Leadership development and continued opportunities will keep Washburn County strong into the future and will keep us a highly recognized Department throughout the State.” While LeDuc says that it’s time for him to move on, he will forever be thankful for all the community partnerships that make Washburn County strong, saying “we couldn’t have made it without you all.”

The Washburn County HHS board will meet on Monday, January 10, 2022, to chart the future direction of the directorship of the HHS, and a job opening announcement is expected from Washburn County soon. Although LeDuc didn’t specify for whom he would like to see as his successor, he did say that “the future for the Washburn County Health & Human Service Department is solid due to our focus on leadership development and creating a Deputy Director position for succession planning 2 years ago.” The current Deputy Director is Marie Schrankel. Regardless of the outcome, LeDuc says that the Director vacancy “needs to be a transparent process.”

As to where LeDuc is heading next? “My plan is to go hiking off-grid for a couple of months starting early March and return early May.” After which, LeDuc says that he will be looking for a new place to show off his khaki and blue uniform. Where will that, exactly? “I can’t say because it hasn’t been written yet.”


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