Dodge County Sheriff, Board Member At Odds Over Employee Compensation

(Juneau) A Dodge County board supervisor and the sheriff are at odds over employee compensation. At issue is the 1.25-percent raise initially approved in the 2022 budget. There was pushback by some department heads, like Sheriff Dale Schmidt, who urged the county board to make wages more competitive, especially given Social Security’s 5.9-percent cost of living increase. After the budget was adopted, the county board’s Human Resources Committee recommended a two-percent hike. That number was ultimately amended by the board to reflect an hourly increase of .68-cents, in addition to the 1.25-percent previously approved.

Supervisor Dan Siegmann took offense to statements Schmidt made during his December appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, when the sheriff was critical of the original 1.25-percent hike. Siegmann called in to the January program, questioning why Schmidt blamed the county board when it was the county administrator who proposed the initial salary figure. He says it comes across as a half-truth. Siegmann says the board was not responsible for the 1.25-percent and wondered why the sheriff did not mention his concerns prior to budget adoption.

Schmidt countered by saying that it is up to the county board – and no one else – to review and approve the budget. He added that it sounds like Siegmann is shifting responsibility. The sheriff says elected officials should be aware of the issues and questioned how no one realized that there is inflation and workplace staffing challenges. Schmidt also questioned how a county board supervisor could completely wash his hands of any responsibility for a budget that the supervisor was responsible for adopting.

Siegmann was among those who founded a grass-roots citizens group called Free In Dodge. He called out comments from Schmidt’s December show, when the sheriff stated that some county board incumbents have been getting push back by a certain subsect of the population who the sheriff accused of moving things in a “negative direction.” That subsect was never identified, but Siegmann believes it was his group Free in Dodge. He claimed the sheriff (quote) “cozied up to” the group shortly after they started and made recommendations about which supervisors need to be replaced. Siegmann alleges that Schmidt has since “turned” on the group and asked why. Siegmann also noted that the incumbents Schmidt is supporting are the very supervisors many at Free in Dodge are running against in the April election. He requested that if Schmidt was going to campaign for others, he do so on his own time and not when he is on duty as sheriff of Dodge County.

Schmidt says he is sheriff 24/7 and is never off-duty and added that Siegmann is always a full-time representative of the county’s tenth supervisory district. Schmidt also denied that he has campaigned for anyone and says when he is on the radio, he is talking about issues relevant to the sheriff’s office. Schmidt did not name the group he referred to on the program. He did express appreciation for many of the things Siegmann and his group are doing. However, the sheriff says he believes that the county board is now more about “attacking the employees” than doing what is best for citizens. Schmidt added that vilifying county workers will not help with recruitment and retention issues. Siegmann denies that he is vilifying county employees.

The conversation ended with Schmidt saying that he appreciates Siegmann’s comments and looks forwards to future communications.

Listen to audio of the complete exchange between Schmidt and Siegmann:

Listen to Sheriff Dale Schmidt’s full January WBEV Community Comment show:

Listen to Sheriff Dale Schmidt’s full December WBEV Community Comment show: