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County Board To Hear Report On Administrator/Coordinator

Marinette County Board will be dealing a number of major issues at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, among them electing a new vice chair to replace the late Kathy Just, who passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 7.

The county will be accepting applications until mid-February for a person to replace her as supervisor for District 10, representing the Town of Lake and part of the Town of Middle Inlet until April 16, 2018, a position Just had held continuously for nearly 25 years. Approval of a new district 10 supervisor is expected at the board's meeting on Feb. 28.

At Tuesday's meeting the board will be asked to confirm County Board Chair Mark Anderson's appointment of Supervisor Rick Polzin to fill Just's seat on the Finance Committee.

Just was Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, and Vice Chair Supervisor Al Sauld has moved up from his position as vice chair, but so far no appointment has been made to fill that committee vacancy. That will probably also be done in February.

Marinette County has also been without a County Administrator since Shawn Henessee resigned last month. Land Information Administrator John LeFebvre has been tapped to handle the County Administrator duties in addition to his own regular responsibilities until a new person is chosen to head the Marinette County operations.

Meanwhile, with the County Administrator position vacant, County Board will be taking a look at the administrative options open to them. At Tuesday's board meeting Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) Outreach Manager John Hochkammer will present information on County Administrator versus Administrative Coordinator positions as heads of county governments in Wisconsin, and how counties can and do function differently with each.

Some years ago, the State of Wisconsin decreed that all counties must designate a single person to handle official communications with the state. Counties were given options to set up basically three types of government, including formats with a county administrator or administrative coordinator selected by county board, or a county executive, which is an elected position.

By state statute, the county executive has the most power, followed by the county administrator and then the administrative coordinator. Of the three county government models, the county executive has the most direct authority over county operations.

Basically the administrative coordinator has only as much or as little authority as the board chooses to assign, which leaves more control in the hands of the elected supervisors on county board. The administrator has a number of rights and responsibilities that are assigned by state law, particularly in the areas of budgeting, department head appointments, and certain committee appointments.

In general, only larger counties opted to go with the elected county executive format. Brown County is one of those. Marinette County chose the County Administrator model. Oconto County, with very similar demographics, chose to hire an administrative coordinator, a position currently held by Kevin Hamann.

At the December Marinette County Board meeting there was considerable debate before supervisors voted to once again join the National Counties Association (NACo). Debate was not so much about the $835 annual dues as it was about the benefits of belonging to the group, which is an affiliate of WCA. Anderson offered to get someone from NACo to attend a board meeting and explain the services and benefits of the national group. Tuesday's meeting will include a report from WCA Field Services Representative Keith Langerhahn on behalf NACo.

County Board is expected to approve funding the $2,626,000 cost of 2017 capital improvement projects listed in its 5-year capital improvement plan by using savings, revenues and unassigned fund balance rather than the borrowing that had been approved with the Capital Improvement Plan. The savings come from a switch in the county's health insurance plan, and extra revenue is anticipated Highway Department contracts. The County Administrator and Finance director are to determine how much of the county's unassigned fund balance will be used to cover the remainder of the 2017 capital improvement costs.

County Board is expected to approve reappointment of Richard Seils, jr. as a representative of the Rural Fire Association on the 911 User Committee and appointment of Char Staffeldt to the Local Emergency Planning committee representing Group 2, Bay Area Medical Center.

Also expected for approval is a memorandum of understanding between the Marinette County Sheriff's Department and the City of Marinette Fire Department that will allow the fire department to use the Sheriff's Department's boat and boating equipment.

The board is expected to approve the 2017 intergovernmental contract with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families that pays the County $306,603 for child support enforcement.

Other items coming up for action include approval of the 2017 Marinette County Health and Human Services Department (HHSD) state revenue contracts; changing the pay grade of a number of HHSD part time and limited term employees from grade 16 to 17, effective Jan. 29, due to the current difficulty of finding people to fill those positions; amending the Personnel Policies and Procedures manual as it pertains to classification and compensation plans and classification plan employee classifications, and adding provisions governing wearing of county employee uniforms.

Renewal of the existing contract with Johnson Controls for one year of planned HVAC Services at a cost of $39,500 is expected.

Also expected is approval of the new Marinette County credit card fee policy with incorporation of fees listed in the 2017 User Fee schedule.


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