An experienced corporate administrator will serve as Kenosha County’s new director of human resources.
Clara-Lin Tappa’s appointment to the position was approved unanimously by the County Board Tuesday night. Since May, Tappa has worked alongside longtime Human Resources Director Robert Riedl, who will retire in November.
Tappa, a Kenosha native, worked most recently as partner relationship manager at HR Value Partners, a Racine-based human resources consulting firm. Prior to that, she was chief administrative officer and corporate secretary for United Communications Corp., the parent company of the Kenosha News and other print and broadcast media outlets in several states.
County Executive Jim Kreuser, who appointed Tappa to the position, cited her vast experience in HR and corporate administration, as well as her deep ties to Kenosha County.
“That combination of HR background and knowledge about the community make her a perfect fit to lead our Human Resources Division,” Kreuser said. “As our economy grows, attracting and retaining the employees we need to keep county government moving efficiently is more vital than ever, and I’m highly confident Clara is up to the challenge.”
Tappa said she is pleased to join Kenosha County, particularly because of the challenge Kreuser noted.
“Attending to recruitment and retention is one of the most significant roles HR plays in any large-scale organization,” Tappa said. “Kenosha County employees serve people in many important functions every day, and I’m proud to be a part of ensuring that our departments are staffed consistently with well-qualified public servants.”
After beginning her career in the Kenosha News newsroom in 1992, Tappa transitioned into human resources, developing a corporate HR department, spearheading two product launches and helping to implement the company’s first strategic plan. As an HR generalist, she has experience in all facets of human resources, including benefits, compensation, performance management, labor relations, safety, training and recruiting.
Tappa received a bachelor’s degree in management and communications from Concordia University Wisconsin and a certificate in human resources management from Marquette University. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and holds her Professional in Human Resources certification through the HR Certification Institute.
Riedl is retiring after 20 years of service to Kenosha County, the last 14 as human resources director. Prior to joining the county, he worked in human resources and public relations for United Hospital System and one of its predecessor organizations, Kenosha Hospital and Medical Center.
“There is no way to adequately express how honored I am to have been trusted with the important responsibility of managing human resources for county government," Riedl said. "Thank you to county leadership, our employees and the people of Kenosha County for allowing me to serve for 20 great years."
Kreuser praised Riedl for his many years of service to the county and the community.
“Bob is a consummate professional who has served us well, as an advocate for our employees and the administration,” Kreuser said. “I wish him nothing but the best in his well-earned retirement.”
Kreuser noted that the transition in which Tappa and Riedl worked together for several months follows a pattern of succession planning in the highest echelons of county government. This planning, which has also occurred in other county departments and divisions, is critical in passing along institutional knowledge and easing transitions, Kreuser said.
“I’m proud of our staff, and confident that we are well-positioned to continue serving our employees and our citizens effectively and efficiently, going forward,” Kreuser said.