Chair says board must abandon pattern of inaction
The St. Croix County Board has a pattern of commissioning numerous studies but taking no action, said Daryl Standafer as he campaigned for election as chairman Tuesday morning.
"We have a large tendency to develop issues in committees and to bring to those issues to the full County Board and have the discussion that results become adversarial," added Standafer.
Those patterns need to change, said the 16-year veteran supervisor, just minutes before he out-polled Sharon Norton-Bauman 10-9 and was elected to lead the board for the next two years.
Now that board size has been cut from 31 to 19 and the number of committees has been trimmed to five, more involvement will be expected of individual board members, said Standafer, predicting they will all be better supervisors if they know more about more issues.
"We need to gather facts, agree on facts and then take action," he said.
Standafer said the largest issue facing the board, both long- and short-term, is the condition of the New Richmond campus that houses the county nursing home and the Health and Human Services Department.
He said the board has to reduce the pressure on property taxpayers by pursuing other funding sources and containing costs.
All the county's labor contracts come up for negotiation this year and the board needs to discuss its strategy to settle contracts that are fair both to employees and to taxpayers, said Standafer, who has led the bargaining team in the past.
He also said the board must reach consensus on a compensation grid for non-union employees and implement that next January.
Standafer said he will work with staff to prepare packets that summarize the issue, give background and provide a financial impact for every resolution supervisors will be asked to vote on.
"My style would be to follow the bylaws, to follow the rules," said Standafer, a retired banker who is accustomed to working with regulations, boards and committees.
He compared his role to that of an orchestra conductor, who has no instrument and can make no music without other musicians but whose duty is to bring harmony out of people from a variety of disciplines and with a variety of opinions, backgrounds and perspectives.
Following Standafer's election as chairman, Esther Wentz, New Richmond, was elected vice-chairperson.
Then these committees were elected, with each supervisor being required to serve on one committee and none allowed to serve on more than two:
Public Protection: Roger Larson, Star Prairie; Fred Horne, New Richmond; Steve Hermsen, town of Troy and town of Hudson; Robert Shearer, town of Hudson; James Stauffer, Hammond area; Roger Rebholz, Hudson; and Joe Hurtgen, Woodville area.
Health and Human Services: Wentz; Larson; Buzz Marzolf, town of Kinnickinnic and town of Troy; Linda Luckey, town of St. Joseph; Horne; and Alfred Schrank, Glenwood City.
Administration: Norton-Bauman, Hudson; Standafer; Buck Malick, Hudson and town of Hudson; Ryan Sicard, Somerset; Eugene Ruetz, town of Richmond area and Roberts; Lorin Sather, River Falls and town of Troy; and Wentz.
Community Development: Ruetz, Norton-Bauman, Marzolf, Hermsen, Sather, Stauffer and Shearer.
Transportation: Brian Hurtgen, Glenwood City area; Bill Peavey, Woodville area; Rebholz; Schrank; and Sicard.