Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Committee On County Board Size Meeting Recap

I attended the meeting last night in the basement of the court house. It started with an introduction of the members. Kathy Propp from the League of Women Voters absence was excused.

County Board Chair Abrecht announced that he had forgotten to notice the election of chair of the committee, therefore he will act as chair until the next meeting.

There were short statements by members of the board, followed by statements from the members of the community present.

Over view:

- Terry Footit brought forward a plan he had for a 27 member board than committee restructure as a starting point.

- I urged the committee to notice all of the board members when meetings were and to do whatever it could to get the community involved.

- Supv. Claud Thompson urged a 19 member board. He made some good points about the increased competitiveness may make the profile of members larger, therefore providing better representation because people will know who their supervisor is.

- Vice Chair John Schaidler urged the board to stay the same size.

Some facts:

- The board can redraw districts, but not wards. This can only be done by the municipality. Any number would have to fit in the existing wards.

- There is a question in that if the number cannot provide similar representation for each district, it may force the cities to redraw their lines, even if it means that it will change their boundaries for alders.

Next actions:

- Municipal government representatives will be invited to the next meeting.

I'll have more details later if needed, I do not have my notes with me now.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Committee on County Board Size Meeting Tonight

There is a meeting tonight for this committee - the agenda is here and the Northwestern article is here.

A few comments about the debate on this at the last meeting:

1) I do not think that the League of Women Voter's should have a voting place on this committee. They have all ready stated that they feel the board size should be reduced. They should be invited to testify and contribute to the discussion, but not a seat at the table.

2) The LWV, if it has a seat, should be off-set by a group or individual that has a stated position for retaining the size of the board to provide balance to the debate.

3) The LWV should not have 2 of 3 citizen representatives on this board. This is wrong to have a group with a stated position have a majority of the non-board member seats.

4) One of the biggest arguments that the Winnebago County Board is to large is that there is very little competition for the seats. However, of the 38 seats, 7 (18%) of them are held by people, such as myself, that have served on the board for less than 1 full term. We should have a seat on the committee to provide a fresh perspective on the debate. As it is, the committee is full of people that have been though this process before.

If we want to ensure that the committee works and is fair, the structure and process should have worked differently. This is why I moved to eliminate one of the Supervisors on the committee in favor of a newly elected on, and why I wanted the members to be voted on individually.

The process for establishing this was a failure, how can we expect the results to be different?

See you at the meeting tonight.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Something District 17 Will Not Have to Worry About While I am the Supervisor:

A Winnebago County Board supervisor from Menasha took the NFL replay approach in studying the too-big-or-right-sized issue of county board size.

Paul Eisen went to the replay booth, so to speak.

Eisen, 63, an insurance broker elected in April, said he reviewed six months worth of Winnebago board meeting video tapes and an additional 10 hours of 2006 county budget hearings and reviews last fall.

His focus: Who was talking, questioning — just participating — in the 38-member County Board's debates? What were the numbers like? Was there diversity? "Diversity," meaning how many of the supervisors actually chimed in on the year's big issues, from a half-percent sales tax to a new county nursing home?

Were there some citizens whose elected or appointed rep never spoke up at all over the time period?

Here is the whole story.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Referendum on Board Size to Launch

I recieved this email today from Progress Oshkosh:

Progress Oshkosh will be hosting a full membership meeting called "The Power Hour of Progress" on Sept 21st at the Algoma Club in downtown Oshkosh at 5:30PM. There are 3 items on the agenda:

1. Launch a Referendum drive for the Winnebago County Board. The Citizens Unite to Transform the Winnebago County Board (CUT Winnebago County Board) will begin their Referendum Drive for reducing the Size of the Winnebago County Board from 38 members to 19 members. (Presented by the CUT Winnebago County Board Committee)

It looks like County Chair Abrecht was a little late in his efforts.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Agenda is Up For Full County Board Meeting


State of the County Report – Mark Harris, County Executive, and Chuck Orenstein, Finance Director

That should be very interesting going into budgeting.

Also on the agenda is to make a Temporary Committee on County Board Size.

The Chair has also submitted 7 of the 8 members:

County Board Supervisor Nominees:

David Albrecht
Bernard Egan
Patrick O’Brien
Thomas Widener

Citizen Nominees:

Joe Noll, 2867 Oakridge Road, Neenah, WI 54956
Kathleen Propp, 1936 Hazel Street, Oshkosh, WI 54901