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Commission takes steps to correct mistakes

Correcting mistakes made in hiring practices took up a good portion of the Tuesday, April 2, meeting of the Walworth County Commissioners.
According to Walworth County State’s Attorney Jamie Hare, commissioners corrected mistakes they made in the hiring of Blake Friend as the new highway superintendent. They approved his hiring and set his wage at $55,000 per year. Commissioner Jim Houck questioned how they came up with that wage. He said neither he nor commissioner Davis Martin were informed that Friend’s wage had been set at that rate, which according to Hare, is higher than the previous superintendent. It was pointed out that Friend lacked experience for that position and did not have the required CDL.
Houck was informed the hiring committee had approved Friend’s hiring and set the wage.
Houck made a motion to set Friend’s wage at $38,500, but that was defeated three votes to two, with Houck and Martin voting in favor of the lower wage.

The commissioners then attempted to correct another mistake made in the hiring of a secretary for the highway department, which was a new position in that office.
Houck again questioned who decided on hiring for a position that did not exist in that department and was told again the hiring committee had made those decisions.
He asked how they could set a salary for someone hired in a job that had yet to be created?
Since that part of the issue was not on the posted agenda, no action on the issue could be taken.
After further discussion, approval of the salary for the highway department secretary was tabled until the next meeting. The commission will then create the position, approved the hiring of the person working that position and set the salary.
Hare said he then left the meeting to attend court and did not witness the last part of the discussion about old business.
The commissioners also approved the date for the equalization hearing after the first meeting in May.
They also approved full access to online and web banking for the sheriff’s trust account to Walworth County Sheriff Josh Boll and secretary Regina Kopriva.
The video of the meeting will not be available through the commission website until later this week.
– Katie Zerr –