LETTER: Show me the fat — if you can find anyShow me the fat, and prove to me that a county executive is a better way to go!
To The Telegram:
With regard to the signs on East Second Street suggesting Douglas County go to a county executive style of government from the current county administrator form, and the reference to “cutting the fat,” I object most strenuously to both as a long-time county employee.
The person or group making up the signs has no idea what fiscal restraints we in county government have been under. As the child support department administrator and public assistance investigation director and interim buildings/grounds manager, I can tell you that staff members have been cut and hours have been reduced. Some vacancies have not been filled, or there were delays in replacing staff — with department managers having to convince administrators of the need for replacement. This has been going on for years.
The state of Wisconsin and the feds have reduced funds to the county for years also, cutting back on administrative reimbursement and forcing the county to pick up the tab, especially on mandated services. Property tax “relief” has come from the county, which has done its level best to cut costs. There is more oversight by administration, the county board and the finance department, more than any entity, to make sure we hold the line, than any other time in the last 32 years. To save money, I once was asked by the finance staff why I needed a three-part form rather than a two-part form. Every request for funds must meet the needs test and “do you have it in your budget” test. There is no free lunch today, and there hasn’t been for many years. Just because the “sign makers” think there is ‘fat’ does not mean it’s true.
The main reason some people want the county executive form of managing is that the position is elected; therefore the CE is subject to recall if the CE does something some constituent(s) don’t like. How would the citizens of this county like to have a recall or special election every few months when a few people initiate a petition over a particular issue?
I am very proud to be an employee of this county. We now have the most educated, well-trained department managers/elected officials and employees in its history. And, if our strategic planning program regarding staff and board development goes through with the resources and wherewithal to proceed, we all will get even better, and that means better things ahead for the citizens.
Sign makers: Show me the fat, and prove to me that a county executive is a better way to go!
— Dennis G. Arras,