(Juneau) The Dodge County Board recently made an appointment to fill a key departmental position. Earlier this month, current Treasurer Patti Hilker announced that she is retiring following her last day on April 3rd. The position is typically filled following a four-year election cycle, but the county board can appoint a new person to the role midterm if a vacancy occurs.
During the board’s January meeting, they tabbed Chief Deputy Treasurer Kris Keith. The decision was nearly unanimous, with one county board member abstaining from the vote. Supervisor David Guckenberger took issue with three board members, including board Chairman Dave Frohling, for already meeting with Keith.
“I would like somebody’s rational as to why they didn’t reach out to any other members of the board to participate in this evaluation…or this interview…or whatever it was where Mr. Boelk, and Mr. Benter, and Mr. Frohling participated,” says Guckenberger. “I mean certainly, you’re going to ask my opinion as I sit here in this chair but obviously my opinion doesn’t matter when it comes time to actually interview the individual. Was there a rational that you would have exclude us from that. I mean certainly I have email, I have a phone, I’ve got several ways for you to contact me.”
Chairman Frohling says, “I guess the short answer is, when the current treasurer submitted her resignation, she had said that she recommended her deputy. We talked to the deputy to make sure she was interested but then reading the statute and that it’s a board appointment, that is why we are here to talk about it.”
The other board members who participated in the meeting were Vice Chairman Rob Boelk and Ed Benter, chair of the Finance Committee who the treasurer reports to. Boelk explained why they met with Keith.
“The purpose of the meeting was for an introduction because I’ve never met this individual and I don’t think Mr. Benter has either,” says Boelk. “So we met her, got introduced, and she said that she’s been working with Mrs. Hilker for two years and that was pretty much end of the discussion. And afterwards we had a discussion with the chairman about how we’re going to proceed and I said ‘hey, the statute says it has to come to the county board’ and that’s where we’re at right now.”
Keith has had her accounting degree for nearly 13 years and has worked for Dodge County about six years. She says when she arrived at the treasurer’s office her goal was to run for the position once Hilker retired. Keith’s first day as treasurer will be April 4th and she will serve the remainder of the term through January of 2025.