Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Our County Administrator now wants a contract!

Every taxpayer in Kewaunee County should be a bit concerned by the audacity of our County Administrator.  Why?  Because, after a 5-year stint with the County, he has received a 18.78% salary increase and now he is wanting the County to provide him with an employment contract because he is feeling insecure.  He wants a commitment from the County!

Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt is now being paid nearly $108,000 per year as his annual salary.  Add on benefits and I am sure he costs us about $150,000 per year.  He started with the County on February 18, 2015, and since he joined the County, he has enjoyed a salary increase of 18.78%.  Not bad, Huh!  Meantime elected officials like County Clerk, Clerk of Court, Treasurer and Register of Deeds received 8.4% over the same period of time.

Here are tables that shows the salary increases by year since Feldt has come on board.  Note the 2015 annualized salary was $90,000, the $77,039 does not represent a full year.

Total increase for Administrator                 18.78%

Total increase for Elected officials                8.4%

Well, here is my response to this issue.......

Mr. Feldt, you want a commitment from the County?  On the contrary, you need to make a commitment to the County first. You have held the top administrative job in the County for about 5 years now and you still aren't feeling the joy of paying real estate taxes in our County.  Reason for that is, you still live in a rented apartment and haven't thought well enough of our County to purchase a home here.  I can only assume you have an apartment so you can vacate the County pretty much at will.

Why would/should the Administrator have a contract?  There are many public sector employees who have contracts for various reasons.  The employee may have special talents that can't readily be found or they may have outstanding experience that can't be matched or they are exemplary employees who are doing an outstanding job and would be difficult to replace.  In our case, I don't believe we have an Administrator that meets any of these talents or knowledge.  

Mr. Feldt had zero County Administrator experience when he was hired and his only experience so far has been his OJT (on the job training).  Also, since he joined the County, the County added a full-time Director of Finance who is doing a great job.  That position effectively took about 40% of activity and responsibility away from the Administrators job on a daily basis.  Also, a full-time Tourism person and a full-time Finance person in the Human Services department have been added.  So, in addition to the 18.78% increase in salary, he has received additional staff positions that overall reduced his workload.  And, those added personnel salaries and benefits cost the county an additional minimum of $250,000.

Further, Mr. Feldt needs to improve his communication skills in a number of areas.
  • Learn how to return telephone calls and emails on a timely basis both internally and externally.  
  • Improve the way he communicates with department heads and employees within the County.
  • Resurrect communication with Elected County Officials (he has managed to alienate a number of the elected officials to the point where there is little or no communication between them).
  • Issue a monthly "State of the County" newsletter so county residents are informed. 
My message to the Chairman of the Board and to all the Board Supervisors.  No contract until after a comprehensive employee evaluation is completed with Mr. Feldt that identifies specific areas that require improvement.  This evaluation should also set milestones for improvement, and until such time those milestones are achieved, there should be no contract nor another salary increase.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Why are County Bureaucrats Pushing back on Requests for Information on Bug Tussel Broadband Deal?

Since I have been pursuing the information concerning the Broadband Expansion debacle in Kewaunee County, I have uncovered yet another set of circumstances that are questionable as to how the Administrator is guiding this project along while not being upfront with information.

Administrator Feldt claims there were four companies that bid on the Broadband expansion RFP.  That is not correct., the internet provider with the most infrastructure in the county, was not given the chance to present to the Broadband Committee.  Question is why?

Presentations to the Broadband Committee were to hear from the individual presenters on Oct 25th, RFPs were to be submitted to the County by Oct 22nd.  I have copies of a series of emails between David Sovereen, President/Owner of that cast some question as to how the Administrator is handling his duties and responsibilities. 

Here is a synopsis of the emails:
Oct 23rd, email from Sovereen to Administrator Feldt where Sovereen apologizes for submitting the information a day late because Sovereen had left his office on the 22nd for a doctor appointment and had forgotten to send the proposal outline on the 22nd.

Oct 24th, here is the email from Feldt to Sovereen.
Mr. Sovereen,

I apologize. I just reviewed your letter. I will schedule a separate phone conference to review your proposal. Actually, this should work out better as the committee will have spent 4 hours with other proposals.  The call will be after the 25th. I will call you the next week to schedule a time.

Thank you again for your proposal.

Scott Feldt
Kewaunee County Administrator

Phone: 920-388-7164

"We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
 Following the Oct 24th email from Feldt, Sovereen never heard from Feld again, not even after repeated phone calls and emails.  Mr. Feldt has a habit/practice of not returning calls and in this instance, his not returning a call was dereliction of duty, plain and simple. 

Now here is more.  I submitted a request for information on May 31st and was shut down by the County Legal Counsel.  Here are the emails.  I would ask, what are these Bureaucrats hiding?  Why won't they willingly supply the information that is public record?

May 31, 2020

Mr. Feldt,

Consider this email to be my official request for additional information on the Bug Tussel / PSC Broadband issue.  

When the County receives the PSC Grant Contract document, I want a copy of that.  Also, when Bug Tussel comes forward with any type of contract in draft form for the County, I am requesting a copy of that document as well.

Ron Heuer
Kewaunee County Resident

June 1, 2020

Your request for records related to Bug Tussel was forwarded to my office for review. Kewaunee County does not have any responsive records as of the writing of this email.

I can also tell you that Kewaunee County does not typically entertain what I will call “anticipatory records requests” (i.e. requests for records that a requester anticipates we will receive at some point in the future). You will have to make a future records request if you desire records in the County’s possession.

I am unable at this time to say with certainty whether or not Kewaunee County will release an initial draft of a contact because we do not have the document yet. I can tell you that generally speaking “drafts” are not records subject to disclosure under s. 19.32(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes. The County would also have to consider whether or not there are competitive or bargaining reasons under s. 19.85(1)(e) to keep the contract private while the negotiations are ongoing.  

Please consider your request for records is fulfilled, Kewaunee County does not have any responsive records.



June 2, 2020
Hello Jeffery,

OK, I understand that Kewaunee County receives so many requests for information that they are not capable of tracking a request that is anticipatory.  That makes sense.  So, unless I receive some idea as to when we expect the PSC contract I will submit the same request each day.  That way, no one as important as the Administrator will have to keep a log.

If you, or anyone else can tell me when the PSC report is "anticipated," I will hold my request until that date.

Thank you
Ron Heuer
Kewaunee County Resident / Real Estate Taxpayer