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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Board Sets Pay, New Districts Lines For Supervisors

Issue Date: November 9, 2021

At an extremely brief meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9, Marinette County Board approved a $5 per committee meeting increase in pay for supervisors, effective when new terms begin in April of 2022, and accepted the final supervisory redistricting plan for the county as proposed. No one spoke for or against the new district boundaries at the public hearing at the start of the meeting, and all municipalities in the county have approved the new boundaries as proposed.

Before the unanimous vote to accept the new supervisory district boundaries, Supervisor Mike Behnke asked if there had been any significant changes. County Administrator John LeFebvre explained the two major changes were in the northwest corner of the county, where the Dunbar area of Supervisor Tricia Griben's Dunbar/Athelstane district was combined with the Goodman area represented by Bill Stankevich, and parts of the towns of Silver Cliff, Athelstane and Stephenson were combined.

LeFebvre said Dunbar/Goodman is only district where two incumbent supervisors would have needed to compete, but he has been told Griben was not planning to seek return to office in any case.

Population of the Town of Stephenson had grown by more than 490 residents since the 2010 census, and Dunbar had lost more than 400 residents, which caused need to change boundaries there, LeFebvre said.

LeFebvre said for the redistricting the Land Information Department had tried to follow school district and municipal boundaries as much as possible to simplify elections, while staying within requirements to keep population levels in each district as close to equal as possible.

Supervisor Robert Holley noted at least three of the county's 30 supervisory districts now have new numbers, and advised everyone to check to be sure their District number has not been changed.

County Clerk Kathy Brandt reminded supervisors, and anyone else interested in running for a position on Marinette County Board, that she has candidate packets available and they can begin circulating nomination papers on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The next County Board meeting will not be until Tuesday, Dec. 21, and some very important papers, including statements of non-candidacy for those who chose not to run, must be filed by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24. Since that is Christmas Eve, the courthouse will close at noon. Brandt begged supervisors not to make her come back to her office to accept late filings.

As recommended by the Administrative Committee, the board kept pay for supervisors unchanged for the upcoming two year terms except for raising the per diem for committee and special board meetings from $30 to $35 plus mileage. There is no separate pay for back to back meetings. Supervisors will continue to receive an annual $2,400 salary whether they attend meetings or not, plus $50 plus mileage for each regularly scheduled County Board meeting they attend. In addition, the Board Chair is paid a $4,800 annual stipend for his or her extra duties.

At the start of the meeting, County Board Chair John Guarisco asked for a correction to the minutes of the Oct. 26 County Board meeting to show that Supervisor Jillian Schutte was absent and not excused. He said this was the first time ever that he knew of this situation being encountered, but Schutte had not attended a County Board meeting since April and had not called in to give a reason, nor had she returned phone calls. He said the other supervisors who were absent had called, and he felt minutes should simply say "absent" without specifying excused or unexcused if they were not going to differentiate between those who gave a reason and those who did not.

The $200 monthly salary is paid whether the supervisor attends meetings or not. Schutte has attended occasional committee meetings since April, but no board meetings. Guarisco said there is no financial penalty for unexcused absences except loss of the $50 per diem.

All supervisors voted in favor of Guarisco's motion to amend the minutes to state that Schutte's absence was unexcused. She also was not present for the Nov. 9 board meeting.

The board approved LeFebvre's re-appointment of Eric Maynes and Kathleen Kuenzi to new terms on the Veterans Service Commission.

During time for public comment two speakers addressed the board, one on protection of Second Amendment rights and the other on what she had been told was the pending release of a violent 980 sex offender to live in Amberg directly across the street from a residence she had just purchased there to rent out for short term occupancy and as a vacation spot for herself and other family members. That had not been confirmed by Marinette County Sheriff's Department as of press time on Tuesday. Lt. Chris Lesperance said there is no confirmation that the residence in Amberg is where the registered 980 sex offender is going to end up. Once there is confirmation as to the location of where the sex offender will be, there will be community notification, he said.

Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison told the woman to talk to her after the meeting and said she would explain, but no report was presented at the meeting. Mattison is a member of the 980 committee that is in charge of finding residences for violent sex offenders who are scheduled to be released after spending their allotted time in state prison or mental hospitals.

Cheri Freeland, of Goodman, had talked to the board last month about attempts to protect Second Amendment rights, and presented petitions with more than 1,670 signatures in favor of Marinette County becoming a sanctuary county where gun rights are protected.

She returned on Tuesday to say there were now more than 2,000 signatures on the Sanctuary County petitions. She was representing the United Constitutionalists of Marinette County, which had met in Goodman on Thursday, Oct. 28, and will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 at Manor on Main in Wausaukee.

She thanked the County Board Supervisor who had attended the Goodman meeting for expressing his concerns about negative connotations of the term "Sanctuary County," and said that term, which describes protecting a Constitutional right, should not be confused with Sanctuary Cities, which protect lawlessness.

Freeland said she had met with Sheriff Jerry Sauve and had a statement from him that she felt supports efforts of the United Constitutionalists to make Marinette County one of the growing number of Sanctuary Counties. Florence County two years ago had become Wisconsin's first Sanctuary County for the Second Amendment, and now there are 20 Wisconsin counties among the 63 counties in 43 states that have adopted Sanctuary county policies supporting the Second Amendment.

The statement from Sheriff Sauve declares, "In the code of ethics for the office of Sheriff, it states that the Sheriff shall insure that in the performance of our duties there is equal protection of the law guaranteed of everyone. This is done so the standards of the U.S Constitution and the State Constitution are followed safeguarding everyone's rights."

It continues, "I support the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution affording the people the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, and any other lawful purpose. As Sheriff, I will exercise sound discretion to not enforce any unconstitutional firearms law. Your rights will be protected whether or not the Marinette County Board of Supervisors choses to adopt a Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution."

"I hope this position statement clears up any misconception anyone may have on my position," Sheriff Sauve's statement concluded.

LeFebvre reported work on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project for sidewalks in Niagara is complete, and $314,264.25 toward that expense had been paid to the city. The Village of Wausaukee project to convert the Stephenson National Bank and Trust building into a library, community center and village offices is on schedule and payment of $456,700 from ARPA funding had been made to the village.

Supervisor Clancy Whiting complained about echoes in the low-ceilinged new County Board room on First Floor of the courthouse, and Facilities Director Marty Keyport said the materials are reportedly on their way and the contractor is supposed to do the correcting work next week.

Contract with Wisconsin County Insurance Corporation to pay $467,905 for property insurance, workers comp, liability insurance and Criminal Crime insurance was approved without dissent, as was an agreement with Lumen, Inc. for RiskSense Security analysis, and testing for a total cost of up to $31,970, and contract with UW-Madison Extension in the amount of $77,200 for next year.


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