Executive Committee Takes No Action On Supervisor Referendum Plan

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee took no action Tuesday on a proposal that would give voters a say in the county’s governmental structure. Supervisor Jeff Schmitt is pushing for the resolution that would add a non-binding referendum to the fall ballot asking voters to select their preferred form of county government.

For the past decade, Dodge County has had an “administrator,” appointed by supervisors, running operations. Conversely, a county “executive” would, among other things, be elected by voters every couple years. Prior to 2008, Dodge County operated under an “administrative coordinator” form of government, which is essentially a manager with far less authority than either an executive or an administrator. Wisconsin Counties Association Outreach Manager Jon Hochkammer, explained the differences to the committee yesterday, saying that educating the public on the pros and cons of each form of government can be difficult.

Supervisor Donna Maly echoed Hochkammer’s sentiments on educating the public and says that she does not expect a good outcome if the resolution moves forward. She says it is the county’s duty to make sure the administrator position is filled by someone who is qualified.

Schmitt says the electorate should have been given the option of choosing their form of county government in 2008. He says the responsibility of educating the public should not fall on the county board because an education campaign can sometimes coerce a predetermined outcome. Schmitt says he believes most of the public is smart enough to do their own research on topics that affect their community and vote accordingly.

While no action was taken by the executive committee, Schmitt can still bring the resolution directly to the county board floor. It would have to be on next month’s agenda to get on the November ballot. Schmitt has made a no decision.