Position Description

Assistant Director - Parks, Recreation & Forestry - Community Services
Location MC - Wausau
MC Department Parks, Recreation & Forestry
Application Deadline Date 1/24/20
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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 support the County’s mission, vision and strategic plan initiatives, and work alongside the Director to develop and implement department-wide goals, objectives, policies and priorities. The Assistant Director, in collaboration with the Department Director, oversees park development and planning, strategic and long range planning for the department, and Recreation Program development. This position will develop and manage assigned budgets and revenue, prepare and administer department grants, grant programs, and sponsorships. This position provides cooperation with user groups and special event organizers and work directly with the Recreation Deputies.




Bachelor’s degree from an approved college/university in Park and/or Recreation Management, Natural Resources Management,  Landscape Architecture, or a related field with an emphasis in Project Administration and four years professional experience in park planning, and construction with two years of supervisory/administrative responsibility or any combination of education and experience that provides equivalent knowledge, skills and abilities.  Requires possession of a valid Wisconsin driver’s license.



The following duties are typical for this position.  These are not to be construed as exclusive or all-inclusive.  Other duties may be required and assigned.

  • Assists the Director in the development and implementation of department goals, objectives, work plans and long range plans; develops and prepares department five-year plan; prepares long-range development plans and Park master plan; plans annual construction project load; and assists with departmental project presentations.
  • Advocates and works closely with citizens and other service providers in a cooperative community response to recreation, park use, facilities, programs, and addressing concerns.
  • Supervises acquisition, planning, design and construction of park projects; makes recommendations regarding land acquisitions.
  • Interviews and hires architectural and engineering consultants; reviews and approves consultant work product; directs the activities of consultants; approves billings; maintains architectural and engineering files and records. Acts as owner’s agent on contracted construction projects; schedules design and construction projects; directs contractors on field changes/initiates change orders; monitors and accepts contractors work product and monitors compliance with building and safety codes; completes local, state and federal permit applications when necessary
  • Meets with park user groups, local and state agency representatives, local elected officials, school district officials, park staff and managers; conducts public meetings regarding Park issues; represents the Park Department with the local media; makes presentation at meetings of local elected officials; responds to inquiries regarding park policies, procedures, plans and activities.
  • Prepares, writes and administers various public and private grants for park and recreation facility development, programs, proposals, evaluations and acknowledgements.
  • Supervises department staff; assists in recruitment and interviewing and recommends candidates for hire; provides instruction and training; plans, coordinates, assigns and reviews work; acts on problems and concerns; maintains standards; approves leave and recommends disciplinary action as needed.
  • Develops and recommends annual budget for areas of responsibility for Wausau and Marathon County; Analyzes and evaluates monthly expense reports; authorizes and monitors expenditures; prepares material and cost estimates for program, special events and projects.
  • Works collaboratively with other agencies on program development and implementation, project development and implementation, coordination of services, program offerings and multi-jurisdictional issues.
  • Research current parks and recreation trends to develop activities, programs and policies that are driven by market needs which will provide the maximum recreational opportunities for the community; incorporate new trends and/or local needs into short and long range plans for the department.
  • Contact management of ongoing facility users; Woodchucks, River Wolves, school districts, etc.
  • Prepares reports and recommendations to the department Director on policy issues relating to departmental operations.
  • Works with the public on gifting opportunities.
  • Investigates and responds to complaints and questions regarding facilities, programs, instructors and staff.
  • Assumes the responsibility for the Park Department in the absence of the Director including representing the department at City and County meetings; preparing and presenting staff reports and other necessary correspondence.
  • Purchases large-to-mid capital equipment.

Additional Tasks and Responsibilities

  • While the following tasks are necessary for the work of the unit, they are not an essential part of the purpose of this position and may also be performed by other unit members.
  • Performs clerical functions as needed.
  • Performs other related functions as required.


  • Ability to manage and direct a group of workers, including the ability to provide counseling and mediation.

  • Ability to advise and interpret the application of policies, procedures and standards to specific situations.

  • Knowledge of strategic planning methods

  • Skill in budget development and contract management

  • Requires the ability to communicate orally and in writing with supervisory and subordinate staff; County administrator, planning director, board members, highway commissioner and other County departments and staff, elected officials, architects, engineers, contractors, vendors and the public.



(D61) Minimum: $32.09 – Midpoint: $40.11 – Maximum: $48.13

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:  Friday, January 24, 2020

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