Citing the many issues facing Walworth County in the near future, including the current state of the finances and lack of leadership of other commissioners, Commissioner Rick Cain tendered his resignation from the commission on Tuesday, Nov. 16.
Cain said the lack of leadership on past boards, including that of commissioner Scott Schilling, has put the county in a position where it may not be able to pay its bills in two to three years.
Cain said that the county’s issues with prisoner housing and transport could have been settled in 2018 or 2021 but that didn’t happen.
“Two commissioners used every effort they could to jeopardize those jail projects that would have solved our problems,” he said. “Those commissioners convinced taxpayers to vote (in opt out elections) with their checkbooks and not their saving accounts.”
He said neither commissioners (Schilling and Kevin Holgard) offered any viable solutions to solve the financial or the prisoner problems.
Cain said both Schilling and Holgard placed the blame for budgeting problems on Sheriff Josh Boll. He said no one met with the sheriff to go over budgets or to get an understanding of how the department was operated. Cain said he talked to other department heads who told him that no commissioners had ever met with them to talk about the budgets or the operation of their department.
He reminded the board that they are the ones who set the budget, not the sheriff and that Boll does not deserve to be the scapegoat because the board does not understand what they were approving with the budget.
Cain said the county is going broke and will fail in the next two to three years. He said the state will then probably put thecounty in a trustee’s situation in which the tax levies will be set to ensure there is revenue to pay the bills.
“I have only a limited amount of time to do this job and very limited amount of patience,” said Cain. “Because I don’t see that I can be productive in resolving the county’s prisoner and financial problems and because I am not willing to take the heat caused by commissioner Schilling and commissioner Holgard by what they have caused.”
He said if Schilling’s and Holgard’s harassment of Boll and the transport team does not end, they will all quit.
Cain said in order for the issues of the county to be resolved, it will take a unified board. He said the job was not worth losing sleep or the stress it brought if he could not make a positive change.
With that, he tendered his resignation to commission chair Jim Houck.
Auditor Eva Cagnones expressed her gratitude for the work that Cain did with her department. She said she wouldn’t have been able to step in to do her job without his help. She said he was an asset to the county and the taxpayers.
Director of Equalization Deb Kahl echoed Cagnones sentiments and told Cain she was heartsick to see him go. She said because of the attitude of the board, she and other departments had lost good employees who felt their jobs would be cut because of the attitude of some commissioners.
Boll also told Cain his work with the sheriff’s office was invaluable. He said Cain helped him out with a lot of issues and took the time find out how his department worked.
“No one has ever done that,” he said.
He said the closing of the jail and transport issues have caused a great deal of stress. He said people were leaving their positions because they didn’t know whether they would have a job. He said he didn’t understand why the board was not willing to listen to the people who work in the positions. He said they just want to do the best jobs that they can.
Cain said the county has good people working for them and that he was proud of the employees.
The board also approved the following supplements to the 2021 budget. The funds will come from the general fund.
States Attorney -$26,000; Child Defense Services and fees-$34,000; coroner-$14,000, Domestic Abuse-$180; Sheriff-$104,520; Jail-$88,173; Emergency Management-$30,154; Auditor-$177,948; Elections-$12,000; Zoning and Planning-$1,500; Solid Waste-$85,000; and Road and Bridge-$37,798.
Supplements from the general fund will be $479,702.
In the restricted proprietary supplements: in solid waste-$85,000 for the new scale at the landfill; and from Road and Bridge, $35,188 and $2,610 in supplies.
Supplements not covered by prior or future grants or reimbursement approximately $164,000.