A familiar face soon will fill a newly created three-fifths time assistant district attorney position for Ashland County.
Lynne K. Van Hollen of Waunakee, formerly of Iron River, has been hired to fill the position announced last week by Gov. Tony Evers, Ashland County District Attorney David V. Meany said Tuesday.
Van Hollen served as an assistant district attorney in Ashland County from 1999 to 2002. Her most recent public service was as an assistant legal counsel for the Department of Corrections in 2014 and 2015.
Her position is among 65 new prosecutor positions Evers announced statewide last week. Bayfield County also is gaining a part-time position; Bayfield County District Attorney Kimberly Lawton could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Meany said his office badly needs Van Hollen's assistance in his stressed office.
"Obviously we would have been more appreciative of a full-time position, because it is always hard to fill a part-time position, but we are truly appreciative that we are going to get some help," he said.
Meany said Ashland ranked high in the need for additional prosecutorial help when caseloads were considered, but the county's small population worked against new hires.
The caseload can be attributed to several factors, including a high number of drug cases going through court.
"That is the No. 1 factor; the other factors are a general socioeconomic conditions that lead to certain types of crime, like property crimes. We are very excited to get her on board here in Ashland County," he said.
Te Department of Administration also considered efforts being made by district attorneys to have alternative and diversion programs in their counties when it determined which should get help.
Meany said the goals of those programs are to help halt the judicial system's revolving door, with defendants rearrested for the same crimes over and over again. He noted that the county has made a strong effort to reduce recidivism.
"I think we have done a good job, and this will be very helpful in being able to do things that we haven't been able to do in the past due to resources," he said.
Meany, who was appointed to Ashland County's vacant position as one of Gov. Scott Walker's final acts, selected Van Hollen — the wife of former Republican state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen — for the position.
Lynne Van Hollen, who will start Oct. 28, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.