County chairman re-elected one more time

Erdmann says he won’t run again

Leader Photo by Scott Williams Taking the oath of office Tuesday are newly elected Shawano County Board members, from right, Aimee Zeinert, Jon Zwirschitz, William Switalla, Roger Miller and Thomas Kautza.

Shawano County Board Chairman Jerry Erdmann survived a challenge Tuesday and narrowly won re-election to what he said would be his final term in the leadership post.

By the slim margin of 14-13, newly elected board members elected Erdmann over Randy Young to lead the County Board for the next two years.

It was the third consecutive time that Erdmann overcame a challenge from Young for the chairmanship, and it was the closest margin yet.

The incumbent from Tigerton signaled that there would be no more rematches, as he announced that he would give up the chairman’s seat after this term, his fourth as chairman.

“My wife is retiring,” he said after the votes were counted. “I have the right to retire also.”

The new 27-member County Board, chosen by voters April 5, features six new faces in county government, including a former county administrative coordinator, a former county jail administrator and perhaps the first-ever representative from the Stockbridge-Munsee Indian tribe.

Board members were sworn in for their two-year terms Tuesday and immediately set out to elect board leaders by secret ballots.

For vice chairman, Supervisor Robert Krause, of Green Valley, was elected by a 16-11 margin over Supervisor Arlyn Tober, of Pella, who was seeking his fourth term as vice chairman.

In the chairman’s race, supervisors initially nominated four candidates. But after Supervisors Richard Ferfecki and Kevin Conradt both declined their nominations, the race came down to Erdmann and Young.

Both addressed their colleagues on the board floor before balloting began.

Young, a Shawano representative entering his sixth term on the board, said that while he respects Erdmann, he wanted to bring county government more transparency and better relations with county employees. Citing high staff turnover, Young said many county employees are “looking over their shoulder.”

“It seems to be an us-against-them kind of attitude,” he said. “We need to treat our employees with respect and give them the tools they need.”

Erdmann, entering his seventh term on the board, cited several accomplishments since he became chairman in 2010, including a downsizing of the board, the hiring of a new administrative coordinator, and a streamlining of county departments.

Some of the decisions he has advocated have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, Erdmann said.

“All in all, we’re on the right track,” he added. “The decisions that have been made have been made for the right reasons and to keep Shawano County moving forward.”