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We consider applicants for all positions without regard to race, creed, marital status, pregnancy, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, sexual preference, sex, age (Except where sex or age is a bona fide occupational qualification), or other legally protected class related to ability to perform essential job functions. We welcome you as an applicant for employment.

Parks, Recreation & Forestry Director

Location: MC - Wausau
Application Deadline Date: 1/2/18




Marathon County lies in the center of Wisconsin where the landscape transitions from the farmlands and woodlots to the south to the forests and lake country of the north. The County has a population of 136,000 including the Wausau metropolitan area of 70,000 at the confluence of the Wisconsin, Eau Claire and Rib Rivers. Our water, woodland and terrain resources combined with a full complement of the four seasons have allowed us to develop many of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the midwest. We are known for our downhill and cross country skiing, mountain biking, kayak, soccer, softball, baseball, snowmobiling, curling, ATV, camping, fishing, hunting, snow-tubing, concert and special event facilities. These facilities host multiple state and regional sports competitions annually and intermittent national and international events. We are the home of the Northwoods League Woodchucks, a college summer league baseball team, and the Riverwolves, a junior league hockey team.

Our historic Arts Block is a regional center for performing and visual arts and the Woodson Art Museum is home of the internationally renowned Birds in Art exhibit. There is an active music scene throughout the year including free outdoor concerts weekly in the summer and the oldest blues festival in the region. Festivals, fairs, and a broad array of special events occur year round throughout the County.

Marathon County also offers diversity in residential options and employment. Our metropolitan area consists of several communities centrally located at the intersections of I-39/US 51 and State Highway 29. Our regional airport is easily accessible to the business or vacation traveler. Our economy is comprised of a strong health care industry, professional services, manufacturing, agri-business, and a strong commitment to entrepreneurship. Whether you are looking for a metropolitan setting, small town living or a rural lifestyle, Marathon County has affordable options within minutes of each other.

 To learn more about our community, you are invited to visit the following web sites for a variety of video tours:  www.co.marathon.wi.us.  www.visitwausau.com    www.ci.wausau.wi.us   



 Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department is a unique, joint venture that operates two separate park systems and a County Forest system, each with its own facilities, management objectives, and budgets. In addition, the department manages Wausau’s recreation, urban forestry and horticulture programs, provides grounds and snow services to County administrative sites, operates the Mountain-Bay State Park Trail and administers the County snowmobile and ATV trail systems. The Wausau and Marathon County park systems provide distinctly different, yet complementary, facilities and recreation opportunities. The specialized knowledge, skills, and equipment necessary to effectively operate the two systems have been successfully provided by a single workforce and management team since 1924. The overall annual operating budget is $4.9M and includes 44 FTE and 130 seasonal positions. In the past 8 years, the department has had over $33M in capital projects. The department is a freestanding County department with its own operations facilities and fleet. All employees are County employees, and the Director reports to the County Administrator. Governance of the County park and forest systems is through the County Board and its committees and commissions. Governance of the Wausau park system and recreation and urban forestry programs is through the City Council and its committees and the Mayor. 

The Marathon County park system is based on large parks that typically focus upon a high quality natural feature and provide limited areas of development that support low intensity recreation uses such as picnicing, hiking, fishing, swimming, and camping. There are 17 County parks that encompass about 3,400 acres. The county park system also provides specialized facilities that serve the entire county and beyond including a 5 field softball complex, 15 field soccer complex (best in WI), 2 indoor ice arenas, 30 mile mountain bike trail system, 18 miile cross country ski trail system (best in WI), 4 campgrounds (162 sites), fairgrounds, and shooting range.

The Marathon County forest system is comprised of 9 units encompassing about 30,000 acres.  These lands are managed with an emphasis on a sustained yield forest product production basis with a multiple resource management ethic reflected in being third party certified.  Many recreation activities occur on these lands, including hunting, trapping, gathering, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ATV riding.

The City of Wausau park system is based on small neighborhood parks and play fields whose purpose is to serve nearby residents.  Other park types include:  community parks for large gatherings and events; specialized athletic and recreation facilities, conservancies, and the River Edge Parkway.  There are 38 parks that encompass 340 acres.  Specialized facilities include 3 aquatic facilities, a baseball stadium, lift assisted snow tubing hill with six 1,000 foot runs (best in WI), gravity trail mountain bike park (best in WI), 4 enclosed shelters, boat/kayak/paddleboard wharf, 4 boat launches, city square event venue, 8 ball diamonds, 3 outdoor ice skating rinks, skateboard park, bike polo pitch, 10 tennis courts, 10 pickleball courts, and 4 soccer fields.

In conjunction with its park system, Wausau offers a recreation program that provides swimming and a youth playground program in the summer and snow tubing and outdoor ice skating in the winter. Indirectly, Wausau's recreation program facilitates the operation of numerous sports leagues and recreation activities through the provision of facilities, technical assistance, and other coordinating activities.



The purpose of this position is to provide executive leadership to the Parks, Recreation & Forestry (PRF) Department, including managing the workforce, administering programs, overseeing department resources, and preparing financial plans consistent with goals established annually with the County Administrator.  Additionally, the PRF Director provides staff support, advice, and assistance to these committees:   Marathon County Environmental Resources Committee, Marathon County-City of Wausau Park Commission, Marathon County Forestry & Recreation Committee, and the City of Wausau Park & Recreation Committee, and other governing bodies.  An understanding of governance and the role that policymakers play in setting future directions and the role that administration plays in supporting policymakers with high quality information and effective policy implementation is key to success.




Bachelor's degree from an approved college/university in Park and/or Recreation Management, Natural Resources Management, Forestry, Recreation, Landscape Architecture, or a related field; and 5 years experience in park management or recreation that includes 4 years of supervisory and administrative responsibility; OR equivalent combination of job-related education and work experience.  Driver's license or ability to obtain reliable transportation required.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Parks & Recreation, Public Administration or related field.
  • Responsible management experience, including experience managing operations (including budget development/management).
  • Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification.
  • Management experience in a department with similarly diverse facilities, functions and programming, serving populations of over 100,000 or more.
  • Experience managing large operating budgets ($3M+).
  • Experience in park master planning and best practices.
  • Experience in forest management from a multiple use perspective.


• Provides leadership for a strong work culture in fostering teamwork, building relationships, and setting high personal standards of performance.

• Directs, administers, and oversees the operations of the Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry systems and the City of Wausau, Parks, Recreation, and urban forestry system.  Directs the preparation of the annual department separate budgets for the City of Wausau and Marathon County; directs the development of planning for all aspects of systems and programs; analyzes existing programs and directs the development of recreational programs; and directs the planning and design of park and recreation facilities.

• Plans and oversees park and recreation programs including:  Eastbay Sports Complex, Sunny Vale Softball Complex, Athletic Park baseball stadium, campgrounds, recreational trails for nordic skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, snow mobiling, etc., boat launches, ice arenas, reservable shelters and facilities, recreation programs, pools, Sylvan tubing hill, concessions, Marathon Junction, etc.

• Supervises Park Department professional staff; directs the recruitment of and interviews and selects new, regular employees; directs training and continuing education activities; plans, coordinates, assigns and reviews work; acts on problems and concerns; approves leave; evaluates performance and approves transfers, promotions, disciplinary actions, discharges, and recommends salary increases.  Staff consists of 42 full time and 135+ seasonal employees.  Works to develop a positive work culture throughout the department.

• Develops, implements, and monitors administration of department policies and procedures; directs the development, maintenance, and enforcement of park ordinances; ensures compliance with all applicable health and safety codes and regulations. Implements and monitors administration of County, state, and federal policies, procedures, ordinances, codes, and laws related to employment, safety, building codes, environment, forest laws, natural resources, etc.

• Develops and presents project and program proposals to elected officials, regulatory agencies, benefactors, special interest groups, the public, and the media to obtain support/approval and/or funding.

• Develops, negotiates, and directs the administration of short and long-term facility use agreements; administers the provision of facilities and services to athletic, recreational, business, governmental, and other special interest groups.

• Develops and administers cooperative management agreements with other agencies and units of government.

• Oversees and coordinates a variety of construction, maintenance, planning, event management and support service activities with other City and County departments, local, state, and federal units of government, private corporations, foundations, school districts, and volunteer agencies and organizations.

• Represents the Park Department to the news media regarding recreation and environmental issues; responds to inquiries; receives and ensures resolution of complaints; acts as department liaison and maintains working relationships with City officials and councils, committees, boards, state agencies, sports associations, foundations, business associations, and schools.

• Oversees long range park system planning and site and facility master planning; directs in-house design of park and recreation facilities, and forestry land and facilities; reviews the administration of designs and construction contracts.

• Oversees the negotiation and acquisition of land and easements through purchase, gift, condemnation, and park land dedication ordinances. 

• Directs publicity activities for programs, services and systems.

• Regularly evaluates department programs.  Prioritizes and modifies programs based on fiscal resources and other criteria. 

• Leads employees using a results focused performance management system that provides a framework to encourage employee contributions and includes goal setting, coaching, feedback, and professional development planning.

• Ensures team works effectively across departments and divisions and with all business partners.

• Develops solutions to work issues that add value for our customers.

• Participates in establishing professional development goals that are supportive of broader County Goals.

• Maintains regular and predictable attendance; works extra hours as required.

• Performs related work as required.




As a leader in the County system, the Parks, Recreation & Forestry Director needs a broad range of competencies.

Those listed in this section are particularly important to success in the position:

Engaging and inspiring others by:

• Fosters a sense of urgency, ownership, and personal commitment to work.

• Creating a work environment that encourages others to do their best.


Promoting collaboration by:

• Building team cohesiveness by establishing communications and reinforcing shared values.

• Inviting and building on the ideas of others.

• Promoting teamwork among groups and discouraging "them versus us" thinking.


Influencing skills, including:

• Promoting own position and ideas with confidence and enthusiasm.

• Anticipate the positions and reactions of others accurately. 

• Knowing whom to involve and when.


Financial skills, including:

• Ability to prepare realistic estimates of budget, staff, and other resources.

• Make prudent decisions regarding significant expenditures.


Additionally, the selected candidate must be able to:

• Effectively prioritize their own work and manage their time.

• Identify underlying issues and root causes of problems.

• Make decisions based on sound logic and rationale.

• Understand the legal environment and make decisions that are consistent with local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations.



Salary range (D71):  Minimum: $76,252   Midpoint:  $95,314    Maximum:  $114,378

Marathon County employees enjoy competitive salaries, flexible schedules, and a range of excellent benefits,  including:

  • Pay for performance system
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Wisconsin Retirement System defined benefit plan
  • Post employment health plan
  • Income continuation insurance
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) and holiday pay
  • 457 deferred compensation plans
  • Flexible spending account to set aside pre-tax dollars for childcare and medical expenses
  • Life insurance
  • Educational reimbursement program 
  • Employee recognition programs and a positive workplace culture


Selection of the successful candidate may be made by assessment of experience and education, criminal record check, oral interview; review of references, written background inventory, and other appropriate job-related selection procedures.  All applicants will be notified as to the status of their application.



Marathon County will make arrangements to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary and reasonable to afford an individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the recruitment process. Please notify the Employee Resources Department office or phone (715) 261-1451 to request special accommodations prior to the application deadline.



Wisconsin Statutes, Sections 19.36 (7), 64.09 (5), and 64.11 (7) require public employers to treat the following items as a public record: Each applicant’s application, records, recommendations and qualifications except as provided in Section 19.36 (7), Wis. Stats. that allows the identity of an applicant to remain confidential if the applicant requests in writing that the County not provide access to this information.

If you choose not to have this information become a public record, you must make such a request in writing to the Employee Resources Department. If you become a finalist for the position, your identity may be disclosed as required by law.

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

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