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Friday, December 15, 2006

Lohrmann the lightning rod

County board chair Ann Lohrmann has become the lightning rod in the debate over whether or not to downsize the Walworth County Board.

The plan will go to the voters this spring.

In the meantime, supporters of Lohrmann as well as those critical of her have been vocal in their opinions.

In the Sunday, Dec. 17 edition of The Week, Whitewater Town Chair Ron Fero, along with two town supervisors, writes in support of Lohrmann (read his letter below.)

The letter below, from three county board supervisors, missed the deadline for Sunday's print edition, but will run next week.

In the mean time, what do readers think? Add your comments here.

By Jerry A. Grant: Lohrmann is an embarrassment

The authors listed below would like to provide the following, to correct information and/or facts that have been reported in the past in regard to the Walworth County Board of Supervisors.

We work hard to take our j0ob as supervisor very seriously. We have always looked at it as "serious business." We do not and never have considered the county board a "Good Old boys club" or a " Social Club" as stated by Ann Lohrmann. We do not believe that taxpayers' money has been "mismanaged." Lohrmann's statement indicates that our county administrator and most county board supervisors are careless with taxpayer money.

This could not be further from the truth. The Finance Committee, of which Lohrmann is a member, reviews the financial portion of the county business very closely. The full board reviews, or at least has the opportunity to review and offer suggestions to the budget as it develops. All meetings are open to the public.

Ann Lohrmann has become an embarrassment to us. Her actions at the Village of East Troy polls is unacceptable, no matter what the purpose of the solicitation. Whether the act was legal or not, we believe Lohrmann should not be soliciting signatures for any issue involving eh county board as a while, even when she strongly supports the issue.

As chairperson, Lohrmann should support her board where majority rules, not berate and publicly undermine board decisions.

When asked about her behavior, Lohrmann's answe3rs only speak to money issues-the unacceptable behavior is not about money.

In Lohrmann's articles furnished to the press, not all facts have been correct. Lohrmann had declared there was a board "self-imposed tax cap" of 4.68 percent. In May, when the budget process began, the full board was given scenarios by Administer David Bretl.

At that time, Lohrmann supported and voted of a tax increase of not more than 9 percent. That proposal was voted down.

The proposal of not more than 10 percent tax increase passed by a majority of the board.

There has been nothing before the county board and nothing in the minutes of the finance committee mentioning the 4.68 percent "self imposed tax cap" that Lohrmann continually mentions.

This letter is the opinion of the signees and may not represent the opinion of other members of the board

Jerry Grant, District 7

Sandra Wagie-Tromel, District 5

Art Lein, District 6

By Ron Fero: Lohrmann is looking out for us

We are so tired of all the fuss from other County Board supervisors over what Board Chairperson Ann Lohrmann did gathering signatures to down-size the Walworth County Board from 25 to 11 (which is not illegal).

If the present county board would have done their job and had consideration and listened to what taxpayers want, instead of just spend, spend, spend, there wouldn't be an effort to downsize.

Perhaps some county supervisors are getting nervous that the taxpaying public will actually have a say as to their conduct and spending practices if there is a referendum to downsize.

Ann Lohrmann represents the bulk of our township and is at our meetings, calls us to inform the town board of what is going on and helps us if we have problems with anything in the county and returns our phone calls.

We are not embarrassed by Ann Lohrmann; however, we are embarrassed by our other county board supervisor, Jerry Grant. He never calls to see if we have any problems, or with an update of county business or comes to a town board meeting. We did invite him to the last meeting to tell us why he voted for an almost 10 percent increase in the county budget.

One of our citizens asked him why he didn't vote for what the taxpayers of Whitewater Township want, and his reply was "I voted my conscience."

Well, that may be well and good to do that, but it is not representing our township and what our citizens want.

We understand Jerry Grant has asked Ann Lohrmann to resign as chairperson of the county board. Well, we would like to see Jerry Grant resign as our county board supervisor, and be represented by someone who actually listens to the citizens of this township and doesn't live in a city.

We support Ann Lohrmann as our representative to the county and as county board chairperson.

Ron Fero, chairperson, Whitewater Township

Ralph Goessling, supervisor, Whitewater Township

Norm Prusener, supervisor, Whitewater Township

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back and forth on the Walworth County Board

In Sunday's edition of The Week, Citizens for Responsible Government Chairman Brett Strong responds (below) to a guest opinion a week earlier by County Board Supervisor David Weber.

Weber had called the CRG a radical group. Strong says that if they're radical, so what. His group is looking out for the taxpayers.

The latest back and forth was sparked by an incident during election day where County Board Chair Ann Lohrmann was asked to leave a polling place while collecting signatures for the CRG's downsizing plan.

Lohrmann wrote a piece in the Janesville Gazette defending her actions.

Add your comments on the issue here.

~Dan Plutchak, editor

By Brett Strong: Taxpayers stand up to tax spenders

Responding to Walworth County Board Supervisor Dave Weber's guest opinion last week ("Questioning the actions of the board chair," The Week, Dec. 3).

Yes, I have stated that the Walworth County Board is irresponsible. Not only me, but a host of other people as well.

Citizens for Responsible Government is a watchdog group for the taxpayers.

It started in Milwaukee and has grown very rapidly due to the increase in the taxpayers wanting a way to contend with the bad behavior of elected officials.

Thus, the Walworth County chapter evolved.

Mr. Weber says our voice and opinion are not based on fact.

Correction, Mr. Weber: Everything being said is a fact and can be proven by public record.

Mr. Weber says we are a "radical group." Maybe, but let's look at why.

Is it radical to ask why you didn't put Lakeland School to referendum? It's a non-mandated service and we should have a say in the matter.

I brought to your attention many times the wages and benefit package of the nursing home employees.

Before the new home was built, studies commissioned by the county said they were the highest in the state. If you downsize, it still needed to be addressed.

Is it radical to ask you why you didn't do that?

The same about the benefit package for the teachers at Lakeland. The counties study said they were the highest as well.

Is it radical to ask you to address this on behalf of the taxpayers?

The county saw a 35 percent increase in health care for the employees.

Is it radical to ask that this increase not be passed on to the taxpayers, given the fact that a great deal of people are losing their insurance every day?

About representation: Were you representing us when you decided on a (nearly) 10 percent tax increase?

Were you representing us when you said no to a referendum for the school?

Were you representing us when you built a new courts facility after we said no? Were you representing us after you passed on a 35 percent increase in employee health care?

Now you are mad that chairperson Ann Lohrmann collected signatures for us . Why ?

Did she violate Title 2 of the county? Was a statute violated? The answer is no.

Seems to me you don't have a reason to be mad or remove her from the chair position.

Ann clearly sees a problem and wants to do something about it. Kudos, Ann.

Not all supervisors are in trouble. We wish to acknowledge a few that belong on the board. Ann Lohrmann, Rick Stacy, Richard Kunke and Bob Arnold, you are friends of the taxpayers.

Keep up the good work. In closing, CRG will always be on the taxpayer's side.

That's why we are here. When a politician steps out of line we will be there on behalf of the taxpayers . With pressure, we got them to reduce the levy by 3.4 percent

That's a start.

The author is the chairman of Citizens for Responsible Government

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