Referendum Would Give Dodge County Voters Voice In Government Structure

(Juneau) A Dodge County Supervisor is proposing voters should have a say in the county’s governmental structure. District Five Supervisor Jeff Schmitt of the Town of Beaver Dam presented the county board’s Executive Committee with an early draft of the resolution Tuesday. If the document is approved, a question would be added to the fall ballot asking residents to decide if Dodge County should change its form of government from a county administrator to a county executive.

An administrator is appointed by the county board while an executive is elected every four years. Qualifications for include higher education, workplace experience and training for an administrator while an executive must only be a U.S. Citizen over 18 years of age and a county resident. An executive also has vetoing power over the county board’s actions while an administrator does not.The referendum would be non-binding and only seeks to gauge publics opinion. In 2008, the county board implemented the administrator form of government changing from an administrative coordinator form, which is essentially a manager with far less authority than an executive or administrator.

Schmitt says he has received complaints from constituents that their voice has not been heard. He says his resolution gives the electorate the ability to choose their government, which was not offered to them in 2008.

Supervisor David Frohling says he was the chair of the committee in 2008 that decided the administrator form of government was the best option for the county. He says if you go to an executive county’s often end up with the best campaigner and not the best individual for the job. Frohling says if the resolution does reach the point of a referendum all three forms of government including administrator, executive and administrative coordinator should be represented.

Dodge County Corporation Counsel Kim Naas says it would not be possible to write a single referendum question with three choices but she is working on a solution. The executive committee will discuss the resolution further at their next meeting.