Lifetime Achievement Award
As Linda Wells made her daily hour-long drive into work at the Wisconsin Department of Justice in Madison, she would think ahead to her work day.
“I never knew what the day would be like,” said Wells, who recently retired from her role as executive staff assistant to the administrator of the DOJ’s Legal Services Department after working there for 24 years, including the last 21 in her current position. “I would try to plan ahead and yes, some things I could, but other things just popped up. The drive home gave me a way to decompress before getting back to my family.”
At the DOJ, Wells handled a variety of duties including typing and drafting correspondence, scheduling meetings, processing reports and supervising the department’s 27 secretaries. She also handled recruiting for the legal-services department, served as the department’s public records assistant, processed all requests, monitored cases and handled all follow-ups.
“I compare my job to managing a large law firm. I assigned cases as they came in, coordinated with the legal secretaries and I also got to do some recruiting, which was a lot of fun,” she said. “I enjoyed talking with prospective employees and then, if they joined us, helping them get started.”
David Meany, administrator of the legal services’ department, said Wells was the department’s go-to person when questions arose. He said she was always willing to lend a hand.
“If something needs to be done, Linda does it, including many of the day-to-day administrative issues that would otherwise consume my time,” he said. “It’s easy to take much of what she does for granted because it is done without fanfare. It just gets done.”
Wells thinks the secret to her success was the “ability to constantly shift gears. You never knew what would happen when you picked up the phone,” she said. “There are a lot of people who don’t know or understand what the attorney general does, so you sometimes get calls that you can’t help with, but you try to get them to the right person or place where they can get help.”
In her position, Wells has handled a lot of investigative information. Meany said she’s trusted completely.
“Sharing information with Linda is like going to Las Vegas – what she sees and hears stays with her,” he said.