Was examiner’s hiring done the best way?

Jim Baumgart • Sheboygan County Supervisor

Over the last few weeks I have put off writing this column. It’s not one I wanted to write. I still don’t. When I got elected to the Sheboygan County Board some ten years ago, I was asked by the Plymouth Review if I would like to write a weekly column. Discuss county and state issues facing Sheboygan County, other local units of government and inform citizens of itemsthat may be important to them. Letting people know about their government is important anda worthwhile goal.

Let me tell you a little story. It may be a legal story with all the “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed.

But if I was running the Sheboygan County governmental ship I would have done some things much differently during a recent hire.

Some time ago the Sheboygan County Corner announced he would retire after 27 years of service. He did it early enough so the county could switch (allowed by state law) from an elected partisan political position to a Medical Examiner - a county staff position to be hired by the Sheboygan County Administer.

Although some qualified individuals reportedly did show interest in running for County Corner, the county moved forward to change the County Corner position to a Medical Examiner. About half of Wisconsin’s counties have moved to a Medical Examiner position.

When the vote was taken, it passed with one negative vote - mine. I didn’t mind a Medical Examiner hire but I like to have voters make the selection if possible. It’s called democracy.

Well, guess who was hired as the new Medical Examiner, none other than the former and newly retired Sheboygan County Corner. That’s right, the person who announced his retirement early so the county would have time to change, if it wished, to a Medial Examiner .

It was like magic, no statewide employment request for qualified candidates - just an internal Sheboygan County posting of five days and the new job that pays $51,000 a year with all benefits. It goes to an elected partisan official who was elected by the voters, paid by Sheboygan County but had never been an employee hired by Sheboygan County.

Anyway, I think there are some important questions that should be answered.

Question # 1:

Because there is more than one way to figure out a person state retirement benefit, if the new hire works three years (36 months) at a much hirer salary, he/she may be able to calculate sizable higher monthly retirement benefits if most of the 27 years of prior service qualify for retirement.

I asked county Personal Director the question and was told that I could call the state retirement office . But that was not the question I asked her.

Example # 2: Can one use an internal posting of a job to hire a elected county political person thus bypassing other (many?) possible qualified people within Sheboygan County? And, there certainly are other questions of the hiring process that took place that should be asked.

While I enjoy writing my county column to discuss issues important to the county and its citizens, even raise a few eyebrows from time to time, but this is above my pay grade. I would hope the Gannett Wisconsin Media or U.W. Madison investigative reporters would take time to review the process that has taken place.

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