CHIPPEWA FALLS — The Chippewa County human services director has announced his resignation.

Larry Winter, 54, has held the position for the past 10 years. He sent a letter to County Board members, informing them of his decision to leave, effective immediately.

While Winter didn’t address it in his letter, he has periodically taken medical leave in recent years.

“There is an appointed time for everything,” Winter wrote in his resignation notice. “A moment in time for every person to discern their present circumstance and let go. With that said, my heart is telling me it is time to resign as director of Chippewa County Department of Human Services.”

Chippewa County administrator Randy Scholz spoke highly of Winter’s tenure.

“He was definitely a visionary for the county,” Scholz said. “He looked at the full picture.”

Scholz said his initial timeline is to begin interviews for Winter’s replacement in January, with a goal of that person beginning the job in February or March.

In a letter to the County Board, Scholz announced that Tim Easker, the human service department’s operations administrator, will serve as interim director until a replacement begins.

County Board chairman Jared Zwiefelhofer also offered words of praise, saying Winter has been a dedicated county department director.

“He’s done a good job for the county, saving money and stretching dollars while providing services for the people of Chippewa County,” Zwiefelhofer said.

Winter has a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1988 from Viterbo University, and he received his master’s degree in education and professional development from UW-La Crosse

In his resignation letter, Winter stated his accomplishments include: increased Medicaid revenue from $200,000 in 2008 to $2.9 million in 2017, aligned with federal and state agencies to implement evidence-based services, created the Western Region Recovery & Wellness and Great Rivers Income Maintenance consortiums, integrated the Aging & Disability Resource Center into the department, and partnered with the Department of Children & Families and Legislature to update state statutes on child protective services.

In the past two years, Winter has spelled out the big impact of the meth epidemic, noting the number of child out-of-home placements has risen from 10 in 2014 to 127 such placements in 2016. That number is now nearing 200.