Friday, November 24, 2017

Daily Updates

Chippewa County moves ahead with plan to appoint clerk

Election ruled out to replace Frion, who will soon leave for new job

  • Frion-Sandi-030311-15495473-13420

CHIPPEWA FALLS — The Chippewa County Board moved forward Tuesday with plans to fill the soon-to-be vacant clerk position, as it worked out the job description and requirements of applicants.

Clerk Sandi Frion is leaving her job in April to become the first-ever Bloomer city administrator. Frion was re-elected in November, so whoever is appointed would serve nearly four years, through November 2020.

The five-member Executive Committee will review the applications. The goal is to have the clerk in place by May. The board voted 10-4 to place ads for the position.

The board debated holding the position open until an election could be conducted, but that fell on an 8-6 vote.

Annette Hunt was among the county supervisors who wanted the position left open until an election.

“My concern is it’s a constitutional officer and is usually elected,” Hunt said.

Board Chairman Anson Albarado said because there isn’t an election slated for this November, the county would have to pay the bill for holding an election, which could cost the county perhaps $35,000.

Supervisor Tom Thornton offered an amendment that the topic be tabled until June, which would have allowed the board to conduct an election in April 2018, when there is a regularly scheduled election. That was the motion that fell on the 8-6 vote.

Supervisor Dean Gullickson agreed with Thornton, saying the clerk is an elected position, so the public should have a say in who has that job. Supervisor Chuck Hull noted it is a partisan political position, and he also wanted to see it filled at an election.

Supervisor Jason Bergeron said he doesn’t doubt that candidates will come forward, because the job pays well above-average for the area, and the person selected would have the benefit of being an incumbent — even if that person has only a few months of service.

Supervisor Florian Skwierczynski offered an amendment to the job description, which had originally stated that candidates were “required” to have an associate degree in business administration. The job description will now state that the degree is “preferred but not required.” The amendment passed on a 10-4 vote.

“I feel we would be eliminating a lot of candidates with the requirement that they have an (associate) degree,” Skwierczynski said.

Administrator survey concern

At the conclusion of the meeting, Thornton circulated a letter saying he wants the entire County Board, not just the Executive Committee, to see results of a county administrator performance survey.

“The performance survey... is authorized by the county board, paid for by the county board, and the county board participates in the survey,” Thornton wrote. “The survey results are tallied by our county human resources division.”

Thornton said Albarado and Administrator Frank Pascarella have concluded that only the Executive Committee has the right to see the results.

“It is very difficult for me to believe the executive committee and the Department of Administration would somehow conspire to keep this valuable survey information from the rest of the county board,” he wrote.

The County Board also:

Acquired a 9,895-square-foot strip of land to be part of Lake Wissota Business Park. The property will be used to create a storm water pond. The measure passed 14-0. County zoning administrator Doug Clary said it’s a small parcel but will pay off for the county. “It’s going to add value to the property that is out there,” he said.

Voted 11-3 to approve a social media policy explaining how county employees should post to sites like Facebook. 

Contact: 715-723-0303, chris.vetter@ecpc.com


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