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Donohoe leaving Somerset village

Pam Donohoe is retiring after working nearly 19 years at the Somerset village office. (Photo by Dave Newman)

For nearly 19 years, Pam Donohoe has been the person who has managed the day-to-day operations of the Village of Somerset.

Donohoe is leaving her position with the village to follow a new passion: social work. Donohoe's resignation was accepted at the April 15 Somerset Village Board meeting.

Donohoe has been working for several years toward a degree in social work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and she will be graduating on May 18. She let the village board know of her intentions when she returned to college and the board gave its blessing. For the last two years, the board let her cut her workload back to 32 hours per week, so she could work at an internship in Polk County 1.5 days per week.

Her new job will be working for St. Croix County in the behavioral health department.

“It's something I've always wanted to do, so I finally took the leap,” Donohoe said.

Donohoe wasn't sure what direction she wanted to go with her new career until she did the internship in Polk County, where one of the departments she worked in was the mental health department.

“When I got to the mental health department, I loved it,” she said.

In her final two years of school she had to decide on a clinical focus, which became mental health. She has had the opportunity to conduct individual and group therapy for the Ramsey County (Minn.) Sheriff's Department, which further validated that she was working in the correct area.

Since Donohoe was hired as the village clerk-treasurer for the Village of Somerset in July, 1995, the job has grown greatly in its volume and its focus. Her title now is clerk-economic development director-deputy treasurer. She is being retained through the end of the year as the economic development director, because there are several possible village business deals that are being negotiated in which she is deeply involved.

The Somerset Industrial Park may be where Donohoe has left her most lasting mark on the village. In the early 1990s, the industrial park was basically Scientific Molding Corporation and Lind Shoes, plus several smaller businesses. There are now more than 20 businesses in the industrial park. In serving her position, Donohoe was the initial contact and the lead person in helping to bring many of these new companies to the village. She said the Tax Incremental Financing TIF District helped to make it possible for some of these businesses to move to Somerset. In the early years the village was open to bringing in small businesses, giving them the room to grow and expand. Several, such as the Big Bad Toy Company, have done just that.

Donohoe said it will be difficult to leave the structured routine she's developed for her position at the village, to take on a position with more variables.

“My kids are excited and proud that I did what I wanted to do,” she said.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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