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Sauk County Board hires new corporate counsel

 

June 28, 2018



The Sauk County Board of Supervisors, at its June 19 meeting, approved a resolution appointing Daniel M. Olson as Sauk County Corporate Counsel and approving a contract with him. The passage of the resolution was not without some opposition, however.

Supervisor Wally Czuprynko, Lake Delton, questioned Olson’s ability to lead, stating that although he had many years of legal service in a government capacity, all of his service came as an assistant to the head counsel. “County work is more demanding than what he’s been doing. Is he ready? He’s not been leading counsel before,” said Cyprinko. Those concerns were addressed by members of the Executive & Legislative Committee (E&L) stating that none of the other committee members saw that as a concern.

Several other supervisors questioned why E&L had not chosen to hire within the county, stating interim corporate counsel, Debra O’Rourke, has done an exceptional job as interim counsel and has already proven her loyalty to Sauk County. Board vice-chair and E&L member Bill Hambrecht, Prairie du Sac, told those supervisors that the final choice had come down to Olson and O’Rourke and the committee felt Olson was the better choice since his ambition has always been in local government. “His whole ambition in becoming a lawyer has been government,” said Hambrecht.

“His individual interviews were as impressive as his experience we’ve seen on paper,” added Supervisor Tom Kriegl, Towns of Baraboo, Greenfield and Fairfield.

When the vote was called the resolution was approved by an 18-11 margin with two supervisors absent and excused from the meeting.

Olson will begin his new position on July 9. He will start at a step 6 pay scale of $106,571 annually and be given four years of credit for prior service toward vacation and the county will pay his dues and for education required.

In other business, the board approved a resolution to accept a Wisconsin Department of Justice grant in the amount of $100,000 for each of 2018 and 2019. The grant application was a joint venture between Sauk County and the Sauk Prairie Police Department (SPPD) to create a pilot pre-booking diversion program. The program will divert persons with a substance abuse disorder from entering the criminal justice system or receiving new criminal charges for behavior related to substance abuse.

The resolution also authorizes the creation of one project case manager position outside the budget process; approval of a memorandum of understanding with the Sauk Prairie Police Department; and the amending of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council budget.

Sauk County’s Criminal Justice Program manager Regina Baldwin told the board the program will be headed by SPPD. “The program helps folks struggling with addiction,” she said.

There will be no cost to the county to run the program. The budget for the program includes salary and benefits for the case manager position, travel for training expenses, supplies and operating materials, and contracted services. The resolution was passed unanimously.

Sauk County’s non-represented employees will receive a 2.5 percent raise in wages beginning Jan. 1, 2019. A resolution authorizing the raise was approved by a vote of 27-1 with one supervisor abstaining and two excused absences.

Supervisor Shane Gibson, Baraboo, explained that the increase may seem large but in actuality it is modest. He said if those same wages were traced back to 2002, to this point the employees have received a total of 24.8 percent in raises while inflation over that same period has increased 39.4 percent. “This is a step in the right direction,” said Gibson. “It will help us attract and retain employees.”

Sauk County voters will get an opportunity to vote on a second referendum on the November ballot but not on a third issue as was proposed. In May the board decided to give voters a chance to have their voice heard on their wishes for the creation of a non-partisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting plans. At Tuesday night’s meeting the board voted in favor of placing a second advisory referendum on that same ballot giving voters the opportunity to say whether a constitutional amendment should be proposed on “whether corporations are people with constitutional rights” and “whether money is speech.” The amendment is being proposed by a group called United to Amend.

A later resolution to add a third advisory referendum to the November ballot was referred back to the E&L committee to change the resolution from one calling for a referendum to one in which the board can pass if it chooses adding its support behind the issue. The referendum would have called for legislation changing property tax assessments and valuations for large commercial retailers. The legislation would close a loophole currently known as the dark store loophole which shifts a greater property tax burden from commercial establishments to residential homeowners.

Supervisor Marty Krueger, Reedsburg, told the board the legislature already has 70 signatures supporting the bill and input from the citizens of Sauk County is not needed. He also said the matter is difficult to understand and voters may be more confused by the language of the referendum and falsely vote against their true feelings. In the end support of the measure by the county board was felt to be a more appropriate measure to take on the matter.

Other resolutions approved by the board included the appointment of the Reedsburg Independent as the county’s official newspaper. The bid from the Independent includes free publication in its sister papers, Home News of Spring Green and Star News of Sauk Prairie/Black Earth. The board also approved the publication of election notices in those newspapers plus the Baraboo News Republic.

The board authorized the upgrading of security video and paging systems at the Historic Courthouse and the West Square Building.

Sharratt Warehousing and Distribution, LLC’s application to the Community Development Block Grant Revolving Loan Fund was approved. The loan for $235,926.49 will be used to build a warehouse for frozen foods with the product coming from Lakeside Foods and Reedsburg Butter. Located in Reedsburg, the business will increase use of the rail line into Reedsburg.

 
 

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