Boots & Sabers

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0724, 25 Jul 15

Washington County Redraws Lines

Sadly, this could be the most contested Washington County Board election in a generation.

Earlier this year, the Washington County Board of Supervisors voted to downsize from 30 to 26 members as part of a larger government reorganization effort.

At the July 14 County Board meeting, supervisors voted on what the redistricted county would look like for the 2016 election, when everyone will run for their respective seat. Only two supervisors voted against the draft plan, which the board ultimately passed.

This means there may be up to four contested elections with eight incumbents in the spring.

The county has redrawn districts 3, 8, 13 and 22 as effective next year, with two incumbents each in their borders.

County Board Chairman and District 2 Supervisor Herb Tennies and District 3 Supervisor Ralph Hensel will both reside in the new district 3. The area covers the west-central and southwestern sections of West Bend.

Tennies announced earlier this year he would not run again for county board chairman after holding the title for eight years. County Board chairperson is elected by supervisors, not popular vote.

Tennies has not made up his mind whether he will run again for county board supervisor, however. He said he will make the announcement in the fall, when supervisors take out election papers.


0724, 25 July 2015


  1. Steve Austin

    Have you figured out how much we could save in the way of tax dollars by shrinking this board size down to say 8 people? And in the process maybe make the elections more meaningful?

  2. Kevin Scheunemann


    Asked that same question of county administrator a few weeks ago. The County has to wait until something like 2022 to reduce the Board size again.

    I agree it needs to be knocked down to something more reasonable…besides, Washington County will run out of enough retired farmers someday to occupy all those Board spots.

  3. steveegg

    It’s once per census cycle that a local unit of government can adjust its size. That the Washington County Board chose to only slice 13% of itself is an insult.

  4. Duke

    It’s obvious to me that none of you has ever served on a County Board, have little understanding of what the board does, and no clue what happens when you reduce the size of the board.

    I’ve been on a County Board that reduced from 34 to 25 members. Our expenses actually went up, not down. Fewer Supervisors still have to handle the same amount of work, the same number of meetings and assume the same responsibility that was handled by 34 members before. Since we’re paid a whole $175 per month the reduction in members “saved” a total of $18,900 (out of a budget of $150 million) per year at a time when we were in the middle of combining Emergency Dispatch systems countywide into a single dispatch center, and upgrading over $10 million worth of an aging and obsolete radio system.

    There were some other things we did as well, like reduce our tax levy, but you don’t really want to hear about that boring old stuff anyway. It’s really more important to you to see how many local government elected offices you can cut, thereby creating less opportunity for the average citizen to be involved in running our government, and more opportunity for you to exercise your ignorance.

    D’ya know what’s really insulting to me? Having to tramp around in freezing weather in December with nomination papers while you guys are sitting in your mom’s basement in your PJs talking trash on sites like this about the people serving in elected local government. Perhaps your idea of “making elections more meaningful” is to turn it all over to the bureaucrats who are hired by…, who?

    I’d like to continue educating you guys, but I have to get some sleep – another county meeting tomorrow.

  5. West Bend Observer

    You know what really insults me? The average tax payer has no input because you keep meetings during the day. Do you also think County Board does double the work of the school board and 30% more than Common Council? The problem is the job is about civic service not about how much you get paid. I see they canceled the next board meeting for lack of business, do you give money back for that one? Once mileage and meeting extras are thrown in what is the total pay $8000? Not a bad gig.

  6. Kevin Scheunemann

    “Tramp” around nomination papers?

    That is a problem?

    It takes me, maybe, an hour to get the needed nomination signatures for spring election. When you interact with constituents at church, civic events, and work regularly, nomination signature gathering is the easiest thing in the world. I just bring nomination papers along on my normal routine.

    Heck, when Grothman decide to run against Panzer, I got well over 100 signatures for him in a day or 2.

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