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Committee restructuring part of downsizing process

--- Workloads will increase with fewer supervisors

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published July 2, 2007, 10:46 a.m.)

Thinking of running for the Walworth County Board next April?

If so, realize that the job won't be entirely like it is now.

With the board being reduced from 25 to 11 supervisors on account of a binding citizen referendum, there will be an increased workload and changes to the committee structures.

County Administrator David Bretl and Supervisor Nancy Russell have proposed new committee assignments for the soon-to-be smaller board.

Decisions are still subject to the full board approval and can be changed by the new board next year, but Bretl recommended this board prepare for the downsizing to make the transition to fewer supervisors as smooth as possible.

Here's the workload you'll possibly be facing if elected:

--- There are 10 committees comprised primarily of Walworth County supervisors-public works, executive, finance, human resources, parks, ag-extension, land conservation, health and human services, children with disabilities education board, county zoning agency.

--- Each of those committees will have five supervisors, except for the parks, ag-extension, land conservation committees, which will have the same three supervisors.

--- The current Lakeland Health Care Center board of trustees will be eliminated. The health and human services board will take over its duties.

--- Most committees meet at least once a month, but multiple meetings are likely since decisions are often needed by certain deadlines to keep projects moving forward.

--- Committees will typically have odd numbers of supervisors in case of tie votes, which follows current practices.

--- Making committees of seven members would make a quorum of the county board present at the committee level, which is undesirable. The finance committee currently has seven supervisors and will be reduced to five.

--- Having a committee of three makes it more challenging to hold meetings if there are absences, also undesirable.

--- Expect a mix of day and night meetings, as there are now. An all-night meeting schedule would make added challenges for county staff to attend. An all-day meeting schedule would make it difficult for working citizens or working supervisors to attend meetings.

--- Expect to serve on at least three committees, and likely more. Some supervisors now serve on only two committees.

--- Each supervisor will serve on at least one "functional" committee, which direct most day-to-day county operations-public works, finance, human resources and executive.

--- The proposed schedules attempt to limit any given meeting day to less than six hours. It calls for approximately 10 to 12 hours of meetings per month.

--- Most supervisors will meet at least two days per month for committee meetings and at least once for the full county board meeting. Agenda-setting meetings are also on the day of the full county board meeting.

--- With the board being cut by more than half, the workload could increase proportionately since supervisors will serve on about twice as many committees than currently.

--- The amount of time put into preparing for each meeting is up to each individual supervisor and varies depending on which committees they are assigned.

--- A pay structure has not been decided yet. Currently, supervisors receive $500 per month plus mileage. The county board chair gets $1,000 per month plus mileage. Health benefits are only available for a cost to supervisors.

--- Some supervisors will also have to sit on multiple other committees, such as the civil service committee, community action committee, river rail transit board, solid waste management board and area lake association boards.

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