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.


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