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La Crosse Health director Rombalski leaving position for Madison

Rick Solem

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FILE - La Crosse County health director Jen Rombalski at the podium during a community briefing.

La Crosse County Health director Jen Rombalski is headed to Madison.

Rombalski, who came to the forefront of the community along with the pandemic and has been with the department five years, has accepted a job at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Rombalski said in a statement this was not planned, and that her new role is with the senior leadership table in the Division of Public Health.

“Jen will be missed but the dedicated, passionate and competent Health Department staff, with ongoing support from La Crosse County, will continue working with community partners to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and to keep the community informed,” La Crosse County administrator Steve O’Malley said.

Until a new director can be found, Jane Klekamp was named interim health director.

Klekamp has been with the Associate County Administrator since 2015. Prior to that she was the Justice Support Services program manager within Human Services for 20 years, developing local criminal justice programming. That included pretrial services, the development of a Drug Treatment Court, an OWI Treatment Court and the Women’s Community Based Program.

Klekamp holds a Bachelor’s Degree in social work from UW-La Crosse and a master’s degree in social work from UW-Madison.

She has taught various social work and sociology classes, along with numerous presentations including the American Jail Association, Wisconsin Counties Association, State Public Defender’s, and the American Catholic Correctional Chaplain’s Association.

Klekamp has also worked as the Victim/Witness Coordinator, in a domestic violence shelter, and facilitating groups for people convicted of domestic violence and sexual assault.


ROMBALSKI STATEMENT:

“First, I wish to express gratitude. I am so incredibly grateful to this community for all the support you have shown me and our department during this challenging time fighting a pandemic. I ask you to continue to provide this support to the Health Department staff during this transition. I have no doubt that you will continue to see great leadership and service from this dedicated team.

“Second, this change was unplanned. Despite this, I believe it is important as a leader to have the courage to accept opportunities that can both help you grow and be a better version of yourself and can support public health and local health departments in new and positive ways. In my new role, I will be able to bring the voice of local public health to the senior leadership table in the Division of Public Health.

“Lastly, there are many great people who work in the Health Department. I have been honored and humbled to lead this great health department and the many staff within who embody our values: lead, serve, advocate, communicate, and collaborate. I have seen many successfully take on leadership roles and I could not be more proud of them.”

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse