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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From our readers

Issue Date: May 28, 2014

Letter to the Editor:

Your online edition continues to be a welcome low cost addition to your excellent printed weekly paper. The good news was that the inexperienced and overpaid Marinette County Administrator quit, as we have been led to believe by the County Board Executive Committee that met behind closed doors a couple times. What is the true story?

I think she should have been fired a long time ago so I am glad to see her go. Nonetheless, I’m very upset at the Marinette County Board for deciding to give an additional $19,151.73 (10 weeks severance pay) of taxpayer money as a going away bonus to her. Sadly, some people in the area work a full year and don’t make $19,151.73. It also seems many Marinette County Supervisors voted on the severance package without knowing why. Makes me wonder how many other things members vote on without knowing the details.

You may recall the previous administrator was fired and the County Board ended up paying him to go away also. He filed a lawsuit and the County Board settled, sending more good taxpayer dollars after bad ones. The administrator previous to him took a county administrator job in Sheboygan County where a local twice a week newspaper revealed he did not have the degree he claimed on his application. That was the same degree Marinette County thought he had when they hired him. After he was booted from that job, he reapplied for his old Marinette County position but luckily the County Board decided not to rehire him. Perhaps they should have gone after him for lying on his first application instead?

The Marinette County Board seems to have developed a pattern after it established the top county position in 1987. Is it time to try a elected county executive or an Administrative Coordinator position? Either way the tax payers should save money.

If the position is elected the voters would be making the decision, just like we do for the Sheriff’s Departments top position. We voters can’t do any worse than the County Board has. With an elected position the person would be voted in or out every two or four years. Changes would not result in severance pay! We would again have government of the people, for the people and by the people just like the US Constitution calls for. Pay would be set by County Board prior to elections for each new term. Annual raises not required. Seems like win, win, win to me!

State law since 1987 has required counties to have either a County Executive, County Administrator, or Administrative Coordinator. All three positions generally handle administrative duties for the county, sign official correspondence, etc.

However, only the County Executive has the right to veto County Board actions, and the person elected can only be removed by the governor. Administrators or administrative coordinators, can be removed by majority vote of the County Board.

Executives and Administrators, by statute, prepare budgets and present them for board approval. Administrative Coordinators handle that duty if assigned by County Board.

Executives and administrators appoint department heads and members of advisory committees and administrative boards, subject to County Board approval unless waived or made under civil service. Administrative coordinators make department head and committee appointments only if so authorized by County Board.

A County Executive can remove department heads at will. An Administrative coordinator only has this authority if granted by County Board. By statute, Administrators and Executives coordinate and direct the various county departments, while the administrative coordinator, by statute, has only the management functions specifically assigned by the board, and handles only management functions not assigned to departments by ordinance or law.

An administrative coordinator handles only the duties assigned by County Board by resolution or ordinance.

There is no requirement in state law for any particular education or experience for either of the three positions at the head of county government. Qualifications for the administrator or coordinator can be set by County Board, but electors are free to vote for any candidate they choose.

There is time to make an informed decision. Perhaps we could have a referendum to decide which method of government to use? The County Board can hire an interim County Administrator (hopefully without a severance package) to run the county while this very important decision is researched by the County Board and then hopefully decided by the voters.

Time to pick up the telephone and voice your opinion. Last I heard, few if any Marinette County Board members are responding to emails or using the expensive tablets the departed Marinette County Administrator insisted they needed.

Sincerely,

Pete Pfankuch

Marinette County Voter & Taxpayer


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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