You might have noticed that your county board is going through major change.
The impetus for the change stems from implementation of Act 10, the controversial legislation enacted into law two years ago that bans most public employee unions in Wisconsin. The legality of the law will be decided by the state Supreme Court. In the meantime, counties are struggling to handle their vastly increased responsibilities.
The Vilas County board, meeting in Eagle River on Tuesday, paid keen attention to a presentation by Dan Borowski of Phillips-Borowski, a private consulting firm that works with the Wisconsin Counties Association. The theme of Borowski’s talk was County Board Roles and Responsibilities.
"So as for Act 10 it really gives you the opportunity to operate local government more efficiently and effectively and with more of a tax payer and citizen focus. Collective bargaining was more of a provider and recipient focus."
Borowski explained that county boards now serve as more of a legislative branch of county government. Their role and responsibility is to set policy, approve annual budgets and make cooperative decisions…not micromanage county employees:
"SO IF YOU FOUND YOURSELF TAKING ON INDIVIDUAL INITIATIVES AND FIND YOURSELF WALKING INTO THE COURTHOUSE AND SAYING I DON’T LIKE WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE AND STOP DOING X-Y-Z, STOP YOURSELF AND SAY WHO AM I TALKING FOR, WHO AM I SPEAKING FOR."
As part of its implementation of Act 10, the Vilas county board is in the process of consolidating committees. An attempt to combine the highway committee with the public property committee was rejected at Tuesday’s meeting. However, supervisors did approve contracts for wage increases negotiated with the Vilas County Social Workers Association and the Vilas County Highway Workers Association. The two associations were organized and certified in the wake of Act 10.