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Lake Geneva Chiropractic

County Board recommends against adding seats

August 18, 2010 | 07:32 AM
Elkhorn — Now is not the time to grow.

That was the decision of the Walworth County Board Aug. 10, as it voted 8-3 to recommend that the executive committee not consider adding new seats to the 11-member board.

In an April 2007 binding referendum, county voters elected to cut board size from 25 to 11.

But Supervisor Jerry Grant sent a letter to the county board last month suggesting the workload on 11 county supervisors may be too heavy. Each county supervisor is on four County Board committees, in addition to appointments as the county representative on other boards and commissions, Grant said.

County Board supervisors are part-time and receive a $500 a month stipend.

A heavy workload may discourage qualified people who have families and full-time jobs from running for office, he said.

Grant suggested the board might use decennial redistricting to add as many as four new seats to the board. At the meeting, Grant stood by his argument.

While sympathetic to Grant's arguments, Supervisor Dan Kilkenny said it may too soon for the board to consider adding seats.

"I agree with everything Jerry (Grant) said, but I don't think we can make changes at this time," Kilkenny said.

"It's been an interesting process to go through downsizing," said Supervisor Dave Weber. "I believe we've reached new levels of efficiency."

But, Weber said there was no formal study of the effects caused by cutting the number of supervisors to 11. He suggested that a formal assessment be done to determine whether 11 seats are enough.

Nancy Russell said County Board size probably would not have become an issue except for a state requirement that every decade, counties use the federal decennial census as a basis for redistricting to reflect any growth or shifts in population. County boards can increase size during the redistricting process.

This year, the County Board would have until 2012 to get the job done, Russell said.

"If it doesn't happen by 2012, it won't happen until 2022," Russell said. She said there is no time for a blue ribbon committee to study the board's size and make recommendations in time to meet the deadline.

Supervisor Rick Stacey moved to recommend the proposal to the executive committee for denial, which was seconded by Supervisor Randy Hawkins.

Supervisors Weber, Grant and Kathy Ingersoll voted against the recommendation.

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