Sheriff Schmidt has some great points in this guest editorial at the Washington County Insider. Read the whole thing at WCI.
March 26, 2020 – Washington Co., WI – Recently Washington County Board Chairman Kriefall sent letters to the editor in support of the Schoemann Campaign for County Executive. He utilized the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of why Schoemann should be elected.
My first thought was wondering why Kriefall is writing about the election instead of showing the community some leadership on the COVID-19 issue. During a state of emergency, the Board Chair alone generally has the authority of the full County Board. As the highest elected official in County government, shouldn’t he be talking to us? What has he done in regards to the pandemic? What is he considering? How does he view the situation and does he support Governor Evers orders?
Is he concerned about the closing of businesses and restricting of our personal freedoms? We don’t know, because the only public statement Chairman Kriefall has made recently is that we should vote for his buddy Schoemann.
I for one would like to see the elected County Board Chairman publicly acknowledge that Governor Evers orders are very restricting to Washington County residents and businesses. Kriefall should communicate to us what he has he done on our behalf to ensure the orders are necessary. He should explain what will need to change for the orders to be lifted or relaxed.
Something else is very concerning. On March 13th Chairman Kriefall issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency and the County Board affirmed that proclamation on March 19.
Broad powers and responsibilities were given to Administrator Schoemann and Chairman Kriefall. Schoemann and Kriefall were given full authority to run County Government and the elected Board is out of the picture. Schoemann is running a campaign for County Executive and Kriefall is his No. 1 fan. When the only public comment Chairman Kriefall has made the past two weeks is to support Schoemann’s campaign, I question the basis being used to make decisions about the COVID-19 response. Is it for our best interests or political interest?
How do we know? I think we should be very attentive, and there may even be a state law that addresses the potential for conflicts of interest and abuse of power.
I’ll be honest… with everything else going on, I didn’t even know that Washington County had consolidated power in the hands of two people – one of which is running for election and the other who hired him in the first place. Beyond the concerns about abandoning representative government for the time being, the whole things has that swampy smell.