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Board struggles to clarify role of chief

Although revisions on a job description are pending, Pierce County Board members voted 10-5 Tuesday to accept a recommendation to hire a fulltime administrative coordinator.

A list of 10 recommended qualifications will be forwarded to a consultant, who will develop a position description.

After Curt Kephart resigned as administrative coordinator in May, some county board members questioned the position's role.

The sub-committee looking at the issue agreed a coordinator is needed, reported Supervisor Ron Lockwood, River Falls. He said state law requires some kind of central authority, and it was the consensus of the committee to continue with a fulltime coordinator.

Supervisor Jeff Holst, Town of Diamond Bluff, said committee members concluded they want a coordinator with more authority than was given to Kephart, but less than his predecessor, Mark Schroeder, had.

The board should hire someone to take "a fresh outside look" at what authority the coordinator will have, said County Board Chairman Paul Barkla. He suggested turning to the Chippewa Valley Technical College instructor who developed several job descriptions for other county departments.

Supervisor John Kucinski, Town of River Falls, suggested instead the board gather coordinator position descriptions used by other counties and board members themselves revise the job description.

"I think the board has to figure out what we want," said Kucinski. He said he thinks supervisors already agree on key points.

It's a good idea to have "a fresh set of eyes" look at the two recent job descriptions, replied Supervisor Jim Ross, rural Elmwood. "In the end, it's going to come before the board."

"Regardless of what we write (in the job description), the most important thing is going to be the person himself and his abilities," said Supervisor Don Rohl, Town of Ellsworth.

These are the skills and qualifications supervisors agreed they want in an administrative coordinator:

--Ability to communicate (listen and speak);

--Strong human resource skills;

--Financial ability (budgeting, keep departments on task);

--Ability to delegate;

--"Unpolarized--don't come in carrying any baggage";

--Public sector experience;

--Knowledge of Wisconsin law;

--County residency;

--Ability to coordinate between 17 supervisors and department heads.

The recommendation to hire a fulltime administrative coordinator with those skills was adopted on a 10-5 vote with supervisors Kucinski, Bill Gilles, Jim Camery, Ben Plunkett and Nikki Shonoiki voting no.


Also last week, the board voted to amend a section of county code applying to commercial warehouse and storage. The amendment eliminates a requirement all warehouses and storage sheds be on concrete slabs. The change applies only to seasonal boat and vehicle storage.

At the request of Randall and Darla Girdeen, the board agreed to rezone 39.97 acres in the Town of Salem from Exclusive Agriculture to General Rural.

The rezoning increases the allowable lot density from one to four.

According to the staff report, the Girdeens asked for rezoning because "the land has not been historically used for ag purposes and should not have been zoned Exclusive Ag."