The Sauk County Board completed its reorganization following the April 7 election, by officially making changes and adopting its standing board rules Tuesday.
By state statute, the board has to reorganize on the third Tuesday in April, but due to COVID-19, the board was unable to complete this organizational meeting in person, and voted to postpone discussion and adoption of board rules, until its May meeting. The board also made this decision to give newly elected supervisors the chance to review the board’s rules and any proposed amendments.
The board made a number of changes to the rules in regards to internal operations of the board and many county departments.
Changes included determining the number of supervisors present to elect a chairman and vice chairmen. The newly adopted rules state the elections require a majority vote of the board, which is 16 supervisors no matter how many supervisors are in attendance at the meeting.
This rule also stipulates the chairman may not serve in the position for more than two consecutive terms, but may be elected as vice chairman following those two terms.
A rule was added stating that the chairman may not participate in discussion or debate unless he or she steps down from chairman, following the same rules as all other supervisors.
If this were to happen, the vice chairman would run the meeting.
Rules regarding the organization of board meeting agendas were changed to state the preparation of agendas is the joint responsibility of the chairman, the administrative coordinator and the county clerk.
This rule also stipulates the agenda must be circulated at least two business days prior to the meeting. Open meetings laws require at least 24 hours notice prior to a meeting.
The board established a rule stipulating supervisors should not be present in the West Square building, the Courthouse or any county-owned building unless they are there to attend a noticed and scheduled committee or board meeting.
The rule also states that if supervisors wish to confer with department heads or employees regarding board business, they must schedule an appointment.
This rule sparked debate with those supporting it saying there have been supervisors who monopolize department heads’ work time, or loiter in county buildings.
“I think what we’re trying to do is legislate the difference between somebody being a respectful, responsible supervisor and somebody being a pest,” said Supervisor Rob Nelson of Baraboo. “I think we all have to acknowledge that we’re all going to be adults, and choose to be the former more than the latter.”
Others expressed concerns that they often have to enter the West Square building or Courthouse, along with other county buildings for their jobs or personal business.
“Some of us come in to get a building permit, check on a building permit, go to the ASCS office, the veterans office,” said Supervisor Dennis Polivka of Spring Green. “Are we going to be held to our official capacity then? We’re not then.”
Interim Corporation Counsel Gary Rehfeldt clarified that this rule would not prohibit supervisors from entering the building for work or personal purposes, but required that they be in the building for scheduled meetings while in their official capacity as supervisors.
Other rules include allowing supervisors to signify agreement to a special meeting request via email only through their official county email address, as well as allowing the clerk to notify supervisors of a special meeting via their official county email address.
The rules also established a format for committee agendas, stating supervisors who ride along with other supervisors or car pool cannot submit for mileage reimbursement and if the county’s corporation counsel cannot be present at the meeting the administrative coordinator can serve as the parliamentarian for the meeting.
Follow Nicole on Twitter @Nicole_Aimone
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