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home : news : oneida county April 30, 2016

4/20/2012 4:39:00 AM
New O.C. board holds its first post-election meeting
Chairmen selected, many resolutions passed
Oneida County board chairman Ted Cushing (back, left) stands with new board members (back row, left of Cushing) Bob Mott, Jim Intrepidi, and Candy Sorensen; (front row) Bob Martini, Jack Sorensen, and Jerry Shidell.Marcus Nesemann photograph
Oneida County board chairman Ted Cushing (back, left) stands with new board members (back row, left of Cushing) Bob Mott, Jim Intrepidi, and Candy Sorensen; (front row) Bob Martini, Jack Sorensen, and Jerry Shidell.

Marcus Nesemann photograph

Marcus Nesemann

The newly-elected Oneida County Board of Supervisors, with six new members and 15 returning supervisors, held its first meeting Tuesday and dove right into the issues facing the county.

Before anything could be done, however, the board needed to complete some first-day "house keeping" - namely, the selection of a board chairman, first vice chairman, and second vice-chairman.

After all supervisors were sworn in by Judge Patrick O'Melia, nominations were heard for the various chairman positions.

For the board chairman, both Ted Cushing and Bob Metropulos were nominated, but Metropulos "very respectfully" declined the nomination stating he felt he could better serve his constituents and the board as a supervisor and not as the chairman.

That left the board to unanimously elect Ted Cushing for another term, to which he said would be his last term.

"I really do feel honored, I think it's a privilege to be the county board chair, and I can tell you that, and this is a fact, this will be my final term as the county board chair," Cushing said.

"I'm not going to give up being on the county board necessarily, but ... I kind of believe in term limits and I think that four years is enough. Its been a very, very interesting couple of years ... we've had some tremendous issues to deal with ... there was a lot to be done and a lot to be accomplished and we were able to pull it off."

The first vice chairman and second vice chairman were also elected unanimously with Dave Hintz and Tom Rudolph being chosen for those positions, respectively.

As is called for in the county code, the Oneida County Highway Committee was also elected at the meeting with supervisors Sonny Paszak, Gary Baier, Scott Holewinski, Jerry Shidell, and Mike Timmons receiving the nod.

With the elections out of the way, it was time for the board to get down to business and start going through the resolutions placed before it.

The quiet resolutions

Most of the resolutions placed before the board created little argument.

Larry Mathein was approved as the new Oneida County Medical Examiner.

LuAnn Brunette was approved as the new Oneida County Buildings and Grounds Director, along with the plan to rearrange the department and create the position of assistant buildings and grounds director, with a search to fill that role in the department to commence soon.

"[The assistant] position is being created to be a hands-on, working supervisor," Lisa Charbarneau, the county's human resources director, said.

"When [the buildings and grounds department] was first created 10 years ago, the director of the department was set up to be a working supervisor - half administrative, half working supervisor being able to work with the crews."

As it turns out, that plan didn't quite work out exactly as the county had envisioned.

"Over the course of time, the administration sucked up his time and he was not able to spend time working with the crews," Charbarneau said.

"So [the buildings and grounds committee] felt it was really important to have that hands-on, working lead person - supervisor - but still working along with the crews, so that's how they set up their new organization. It will be a director, an assistant director, and then all of the other positions underneath the assistant director. So that assistant director will be doling out the work assignments and supervising and whatnot."

Also passing without much hubbub was a pay-cut for the supervisors, resulting in a reduction of each member's meeting per diems. The pay was reduced by $5 per meeting.

"This is the ordinance that changes the county code that changes the per diems, reduces the per diems across the board by $5 which was adopted at our budget hearing in November," Cushing said.

Resolutions with controversy

Not all resolutions placed before the board passed without some discourse, however.

The new sign regulations placed before the board by the planning and zoning committee got the discussion going.

Most of the discussion revolved around the regulations regulating political signs.

Under the new rules, citizens would be allowed political signs that do not exceed 32 square feet in surface area, as opposed to the 12 square feet they were formally allowed.

Some supervisors wanted to keep political signs regulated under the 12 square-foot rule, but that idea was voted down with supervisors Shidell, Thompson, Martinson, Timmons, Baier, Paszak, Dean, Berard, Jack Sorenson, Hintz, Holewinski, and Cushing voting against it.

The new sign regulations were then approved unanimously as they were originally written.

The final resolution brought before the board also resulted in the final bit of commotion.

The resolution revolved around the creation and adoption of a code of ethics in addition to the creation of a dispute resolution committee as needed.

Some on the board felt that language needed to be inserted into the code of ethics concerning conflicts of interest.

Those worries were quickly allayed, however, when language in the document concerning conflicts of interest were pointed out.

Supervisor Jack Martinson was against the resolution for a different reason - he simply doesn't think it's necessary.

"I think that this here is another committee that's going to have to be formed ­- and more spending - and I don't think there is a problem in our county board here that supervisors have, let's say, abused no more than human nature takes place," Martinson said.

Martinson was alone in his feelings, however, as the resolution was passed with his as the lone dissenting vote.

Marcus Nesemann may be reached at marcus@rivernewsonline.com.

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