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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How much will new Walworth County board change?

By Mike Heine/The Week

Even after seven primaries, the new--look Walworth County Board might still look similar to the current board.

Incumbents made it through each of the primaries, leaving open the possibility that the new, 11-member board could have 10 returning supervisors and one newcomer.

However, the possibility also exists that the new board could have eight newcomers or former supervisors.

Newcomers or former supervisors are options in districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 11.

District 5, in western Walworth County, is the only district with two newcomers vying for a seat after incumbent Richard Kuhnke, Sr., chose not to run.

Tuesday's primaries eliminated the chance of a newcomer getting on in districts 6 and 10, where only incumbents remain.

District 1, in northeastern Walworth County, has two incumbents running and no other challengers.

In all, 31 candidates came out to stump for a seat on the new-look board, which will be the second smallest in the state. A citizen referendum downsized the board from 25 last April using Wisconsin Act 100, a law that allows for a board reduction one time between the decennial censuses.

"The election was great," said Supervisor Ann Lohrmann, an incumbent from LaGrange who fought for the downsizing. "We had all kinds of competition for the seats. The democratic process has taken place and I always say that's a good thing."

Delavan's Jim Damrow thinks a smaller board will get more done, but was worried about candidates coming forward.

"I'd be more concerned if fewer people were running, but once I saw how many there were, I felt better about it," he said after voting in Delavan.

Supervisors will soon have to answer to about 9,200 citizens, compared to about 4,000 with a board of 25.

"I'm hoping it's going to be a good thing," Damrow said. "It's all the more reason to do some research and make sure the right supervisors get on there."

Being one of the smallest boards in the state now, John Langholff, of Delavan, believes more eyes around the state will be on the supervisors' moves.

"It at least makes them think about things if they know everybody's watching them," he said.

The new board is expected to have more responsibilities and more commitments to committee work. However, county ordinances do not allow for the new board to give itself a pay raise. It can only do that for the next-elected board in 2010.

The next round of supervisors will still make $500 per month with the chairperson receiving $1,000. Supervisors can also claim mileage to and from county commitments.

Walworth County Board general election, April 1

DISTRICT 1: Stanley A. Muzatko (I) and Rick Stacey (I)

DISTRICT 2: Joe Scahefer (I) and Bill Norem

DISTRICT 3: Ann Lohrmann (I) and Frederick Mark Bromley

DISTRICT 4: Jerry A. Grant (I) and Jim Stewart

DISTRICT 5: Claudia J. Holst and Leo Lembitz

DISTRICT 6: Kathy Ingersoll (I) and Larry Hilbelink (I)

DISTRICT 7: David A. Weber (I) and Sonja Berg-Schlesner

DISTRICT 8: Daniel G. Kilkenny (I), and Jerry Waelti

DISTRICT 9: Robert Carlson and Jim Van Dreser (I)

DISTRICT 10: Randy A. Hawkins (I) and Pauline Parker (I)

DISTRICT 11: Nancy Russell (I), and Spyro 'Speedo' Condos


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