County Board actions close, but no cigar

YOURCOUNTY
Jim Baumgart  Sheboygan County Supervisor

There are two issues to be discussed in this week’s “Your County”column.

The first is the start of a review by an “Elections Committee” set up by Sheboygan County to improve the Sheboygan County Clerk’s office in speeding up the election process results and decreasing the number “snafus” taking place in that office.

The second issue is to provide suggestions in improving the new Employee Grievance Procedure Ordinance that was recently passed by the Sheboygan County Board and discussed in an earlier column.

County Elections Committee: The Sheboygan County Board leadership should be commended for trying to take positive and decisive action to correct the “snails pace” of the reporting of the Sheboygan County election results for candidates, public, most Sheboygan County Board Supervisors and the press.

They must also be taken to task, however, for trying to meet behind closed doors and doing it in secret.

As the Sheboygan Press wrote in its story Friday, Aug. 29 (page 1), “According to Wisconsin Statute 19.85, there are several allowable reasons to hold a meeting in closed session, including personnel matters, legal negotiations and competitive or bargaining issues.”

To solve a problem in the County Clerk’s office they may be creating a larger one by possibly violating state law. Few things are solved by keeping the public and the press in the dark about issues facing this or any county or how the solution came about in solving the issue.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The meetings were ordered to be open to the public and media by County Administrator Adam Payne Friday.

Employee Grievance Procedure Ordinance: As background, Governor Scott Walker and his Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature took away, by way of Act 10, the bargaining rights of most government workers.

In doing so they replaced employee grievance procedures and required local government to set a method to handle these issues while following certain state guidelines.

Sheboygan County opted to to have the full Sheboygan County Board decide an employee issue as county government’s last of many review steps.

One employee, who was rein- stated by the full County Board, took his/her case to this final step.

Most supervisors felt, even though they handled the employee situation in a very professional manor, there had to be a better way then to have the full board spend over four hours deciding an issue.

So a new County Ordinance was drafted but a number of supervisors felt uncomfortable because this Ordinance may have allowed too much county flexibility and a question of fairness to the employee arose. When you deal with the tax-paying public and county employees the working rules of fairness and clarity should be important and expected by everyone.

The Ordinance, as this writer sees it, had two major flaws. In requesting an appeal by an employee, the county board changed from “may” to “shall” that required the Human Resources Director to select a person who has the ability to be impartial.

That was a good change. But the Ordinance provided a selection opening that could allow the Human Service Director too much flexibility. Once the choice moves from a retired judge, attorney mediator (accredited), both employee and county should have to agree (this needs to be improved).

That would keep the Sheboygan County Human Service Director from inviting a fellow Human Service Director from a neighboring county, which happened last time, to be a judge without input from the employee asking for the review.

Lastly, which I plan to discuss in a future column, by bypassing the full Sheboygan County Board in a full appeal process and the setting up of a committee to review the case before sending it to the full Sheboygan County Board for an up or down vote with limited discussion may raise some fairness questions.

It’s an issue worth discussing. If you’re going to have an appeal process, it not only needs to look fair, it needs be fair.


Most recent cover pages:














Copyright 2009-2018 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505












W Asphalt Paving & Seal Coating