Our View: Reflecting on change in county leadershipAs local governments reorganized within the past few weeks, a change at the county level may have surprised many of us. Roger Rebholz was voted by fellow board members to be the new chair of the St. Croix County Board. He defeated Clarence “Buck” Malick, who had been elected chairman three times since 2002.
By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer
As local governments reorganized within the past few weeks, a change at the county level may have surprised many of us. Roger Rebholz was voted by fellow board members to be the new chair of the St. Croix County Board. He defeated Clarence “Buck” Malick, who had been elected chairman three times since 2002.
The scenario was a bit of a win-win for Hudson residents since both candidates reside in the Hudson area and both are very capable of leading the board.
We wish Rebholz well in his new post. A former agriculture teacher, Cenex employee and feed salesman, Rebholz has several years of board experience. He first served on the County Board from 1990-92. He was appointed to the board shortly after Thomas O’Connell left the board in August 2002. He has been re-elected by his constituents three times since then and now takes over as board chair.
It appears that Rebholz will be a strong financial taskmaster. He said the No. 1 priority is to try and keep the county’s AA3 bond rating. To do that essentially means keeping spending at a minimum.
He is quoted in a story in this week’s Star-Observer as saying, “We have to live within our means.”
We admire his ambitions and wish him well in leading the county.
We would also like to bid farewell to Malick, who had an excellent track record as County Board chair.
Malick served on the board from 1990 to 1994. He was elected again in 2000 and has served continuously since and was elected chairman three times.
Malick had a down-to-earth style as chair, but knew his way around county government with a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a law degree from Harvard. An avid hunter and fisherman, Malick never played up his Ivy League training.
We believe Malick was a very effective leader. We don’t know for sure, but we suspect his defeat may be the result of his strong belief that the county should get out of the nursing home business — a sentiment that does not sit well with many supervisors.
In addition to thinking the nursing home was a money-losing proposition for the county, Malick did not think it was the county’s place to compete with local private nursing homes. In the end, it may have cost him the chairmanship.
We thank Malick for his past service as chair — he will continue to serve on the County Board as the supervisor from District 25.
We congratulate Rebholz and wish him well as he takes on the role of leader. As is true in government at all levels — things change. Rebholz will now have his opportunity to carry the torch.