Former Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Brenda Yaskal will return to lead the prosecutor’s office in Portage.
Gov. Tony Evers appointed Yaskal to the position Wednesday.
The governor’s office said six people applied for the position, including Yaskal, Micabil Diaz-Martinez, Brian Juech, Tim Kiefer, Chris Steenrod and Amanda Riek.
Yaskal fills a vacancy created after former District Attorney Tristan Eagon resigned April 9. Yaskal will serve the remainder of the unexpired term to which former DA Jane Kohlwey originally was elected, which runs until January 2021.
“Brenda Yaskal is a seasoned criminal prosecutor who will bring more than a decade of experience with her to this important position,” Evers said. “She has a smart approach to criminal justice and a strong relationship with local law enforcement. I am confident Ms. Yaskal will serve the people of Columbia County well.”
Yaskal lives in Portage and is currently employed as an assistant corporation counsel in Sauk County.
Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said Yaskal handled mental health commitments and children in need of protective services petitions. Yaskal also serves on Sauk County’s Juvenile Justice Committee, Child Death Review Team and Drug Endangered Children Team.
Yaskal worked as a Columbia County assistant district attorney for 10 years and ran against Troy Cross for Columbia County Circuit Court judge in 2018. Among the crimes Yaskal prosecuted were cases of sexual assault and homicide.
Eagon was appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker to complete Kohlwey’s term after she announced her plans last summer to leave in January.
Dodge County Managing Attorney Bob Barrington has helped lead the Columbia County office alongside Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg since April 10.
Barrington said once the new district attorney is sworn in, he and Klomberg will step back from their interim duties and offer an update on how the office has operated during the last two months.
“We aren’t simply going to walk out the door,” Barrington said. “We intend to meet with the new DA and try to bring them up to speed as fast as we can.”
An official start date for Yaskal will be determined after she meets with Columbia County Clerk of Courts Susan Raimer.
Barrington said anytime someone already employed in government is appointed as district attorney, the transition tends to be quicker than if the person was practicing law privately.
Barrington said he and Klomberg have tried to be as diligent as possible during the appointment process. He said they both are grateful Evers filled the position in a timely manner.
“We’re really, really happy that the governor moved this forward,” Barrington said.