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Dodge County Board members may attend conferences: County to pay for food, lodging and mileage for annual event

August 8, 2018

JUNEAU – In its opening, the Dodge County Board Rules of Order state that members may attend the annual two-day Wisconsin Counties Association Conference, “only if the Executive Committee determines that such attendance shall be to the benefit of Dodge County.”

The Wisconsin Counties Association describes itself as the foremost voice of county officials representing all 72 counties of Wisconsin.

Up to this point, potential Dodge County attendees needed to ask permission to attend the WCA Conference. Approval was routinely given, along with reimbursement for mileage, registration and overnight accommodation.

Based on discussion Tuesday morning, however, the Executive Committee now proposes that anyone on the board be allowed to go to that conference. A proviso that attendees present what they learned to the full board has not been included, although there was much discussion related to that concept.

“There’s a real benefit to attending,” said Kira Sheahan-Malloy. “I also love the idea of sharing with other supervisors, especially for education purposes. I think if you go to a presentation you should bring what you learned home for others.”

Donna Maly suggested that per diem (a reimbursement of $50 a person for meetings attended) also be paid. That suggestion was greeted with apprehension from others who are wary of the cost.

“This past year we’re paying for extra meetings for health care and the budget,” said Joe Marsik. “I thought this (blanket permission without per diem) was a way to keep the costs down. It was purely a cost saving measure.”

Marsik questioned how one might keep track of that attendance, to which Maly suggested that per diems might be an answer.

“If they don’t do their presentations they don’t get their per diem,” Maly said.

That total, if all 33 members would attend, would total $3,300.

The total cost, however, would include a night’s accommodation and mileage to and from a major population center in the state.

County Board and Executive Committee Chairman Russ Kottke advised that a large number of attendees (more than the usual 10 or so in Dodge County), would be unlikely.

“In Jefferson County anyone from the board can attend,” he said. “They said it would be good if they all went, but not many people do.”

“We’re most likely looking at the potential for 20, and that would include members of the Executive Committee,” said David Frohling.

“If we’re saying they should get up there and talk then we should too,” Kottke said.

No wording including a requirement to share insights from the experience was suggested, although the vague “attendance shall be to the benefit of Dodge County” may provide a non-compulsory incentive to do so.

No per diems are included.

The Executive Committee and the full board will consider proposed changes at their September meetings.

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