By Shereen Siewert
Marathon County on Thursday voted to indefinitely postpone discussion on cutting the number of supervisors in half, opting instead to rely on advice from a task force yet to be appointed.
The decision means the issue cannot be reconsidered until after April 2020, when a newly elected board is sworn in.
Dist. 4 Supervisor John Robinson spoke in favor of tabling the issue to allow for a more purposeful process should the board size be reduced from its current 38-member structure.
“As much as I think we’re too large, as the largest board in the county, I think that in order to ensure implementability we need to spend a little more time on what that size should be, what the committee structure should be within that size, and I think we have a mechanism in place that will allow us to be more deliberate,” Robinson said.
Under state law, outside of federal redistricting requirements after a census, a county can reduce its board size once under its own initiative between regular 10-year redistricting. Current law also allows electors to reduce their board sizes by petition and the referendum process.
Marathon is one of 10 counties in the state with 30 or more supervisors, and at 38 has the largest board in the Wisconsin. Jefferson and Marinette County have 30; Green, Oconto and Sauk counties have 31; Dodge County has 33; Outagamie and Winnebago counties have 36; and Dane County has 37.
Some counties have downsized. In 2007, Walworth County reduced its size from 25 to 11 members. Likewise, Polk County went from 23 to 15, Monroe County dropped from 24 to 16, and Washington County went from 30 to 26 supervisors. Jefferson County considered reducing its board size in February, but later rejected the idea.