The Walworth County Commission has dealt with a number of issues that have dominated headlines for the past several years, but the day-to-day operation of the county is equally important.
“Some areas in this county need changes,” said commission chairman Scott Schilling. “We have to watch how our money is being spent in these areas. We don’t have any additional revenue coming in.”
Schilling, who has served on the commission for four years, said the board and county employees need to be open to changes and looking outside of the box for solutions.
One of those changes included consolidating several part-time positions into a full-time position with full benefits. A part-time employee that worked for two separate departments now has duties in three different departments, covering those part-time positions. Schilling said it not only saves the county money, but makes that position more attractive in the long-run.
These types of moves are part of a long-termed plan to make the county more efficient and cut down on expenditures, according to Schilling.
“It is not the easiest thing to do to try and cut jobs, but it is not necessary to pay a full-time employee for part-time work. It is a waste of taxpayer money,” he said. “That money can be spent elsewhere.”
Schilling said it has been part of the plan from the beginning when he made the decision to run for the commission.
“I made no bones about what my priorities were when I ran for this job. I didn’t take this job for the paycheck or the benefits,” he said. “We can’t make everyone happy so I am going to do what I think is best for the taxpayers of Walworth County.”
If that means making changes that may not be popular but are what is right for the taxpayers of the county, Schilling said the commission would do that.
Recently, the commission passed a resolution not to renew the tenure of highway superintendent Penny Goetz. (Editor’s note: It was reported in the Tribune that Goetz had been terminated. Her contract was not renewed according to state statute and she later resigned from both the superintendent’s position and the business manager’s position in that department. We apologize for the mistake.)
“We felt there was a need for new management in that department,” said Schilling. “The majority of the commission felt the move was best for the highway department to move forward.”
Schilling said he has been criticized for being overly “picky” when it comes to certain areas of the county operation but said he is also that way in his business.
He said he takes pride in his work and expects that of others who are hired by the county to do a job.
“As part of the highway department committee, I take a closer look at the projects in the department,” he said. “I’m not just being picky, I think it should be done right because the taxpayers are paying for these projects.”
That means looking into new ideas and proven methods of getting jobs done that work best .
Schilling said said the moves they are making are part of the plan to be more pro-active than re-active on the part of the commission.
“The voters trusted us with these types of decisions when they voted us into office,” Schilling said. “We want to be able to do the job they entrusted to us.”
He said commissioners have more to lose than to gain by making the tough decisions. As business owners, they can lose customers when they make decisions unpopular to certain people.
“We took these jobs because we want what is best for Walworth County,” he said. “The bottom line is we need to be open to changes that have been proven to work,” he said. “It is all about doing what is best for the people of Walworth County.”
– Katie Zerr –