Sauk County justice official resigns, says he's undervalued

After less than a year on the job, Christopher Polzer has resigned as Sauk County's criminal justice programs manager.

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A Sauk County official responsible for managing new and innovative justice programs has decided to resign after less than a year on the job, saying he feels undervalued.

Criminal Justice Programs Manager Christopher Polzer submitted his resignation letter Jan. 3. His last day on the job will be Tuesday.

In the letter, Polzer thanked Sauk County Administrative Coordinator Alene Kleczek Bolin for her guidance and support. He also explained his decision to leave.

“While I expected many challenges when I accepted this position, I do not believe my expertise and experience are valued, nor utilized, to their capability or potential,” Polzer wrote. “Thus, I have decided to pursue other opportunities at this time.”

In an email announcing Polzer’s resignation, Kleczek Bolin said she expects a smooth transition as the county looks for a replacement.

Polzer did not respond to requests for comment. He worked for 25 years as a drug treatment specialist at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford before leaving that post in December 2016. He began working for Sauk County in May 2017.

The Madison native has a master’s degree in adult counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He also has been an instructor and lecturer for the college.

In an email, Kleczek Bolin said she spoke with Polzer about his decision to resign. She said he conveyed that the concerns in his letter relate to his expectations for the job not matching its actual requirements.

“He has assured me that this is not a reflection on the county, or its employees,” Kleczek Bolin said.

Polzer’s predecessor, Janelle Krueger, resigned in February 2016 to accept a job with Hope House of South Central Wisconsin. At the time of her departure, she cited a negative county work environment and conflicts with Sauk County Board Chair Marty Krueger, of Reedsburg.

Sauk County District Attorney Kevin Calkins, who chairs the county’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, said Thursday he had not yet seen Polzer’s resignation letter and did not have any comment on it.

The Sauk County Board formed the justice council in 2014 to find evidence-based strategies that would prevent recidivism by addressing the root causes of crime. The approach follows a gradual nationwide shift to prioritize treatment over punishment for nonviolent offenders.

The council has spearheaded several new programs, including a drug court that provides intensive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for defendants whose criminal behavior is driven by addiction. The county held a ceremony to honor the first three drug court graduates in September.

Follow Tim Damos on Twitter @timdamos

Reporter for the Baraboo News Republic.