Personnel Committee discusses elected versus appointed positions; City leaders ask for public input
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT – Stevens Point Personnel Committee members discussed the role of elected versus appointed positions in a March 9 city meeting.
According to state statute, mayors, alderpersons, village presidents, trustees and municipal judges are required to enter the office through an election process, while other roles can be appointed at the discretion of staff.
City leaders are now assessing the benefits of elected and appointed personnel for the city clerk, comptroller, and city attorney offices.
District 1 Alder Tori Jennings noted that while electing candidates is the traditional way of filling seats, appointing officials may be fitting for the given roles.
“It frankly terrifies me to think of the next election where somebody’s popularity could put them in this role,” Jennings said, noting that appointing a clerk, comptroller and attorney would allow staff to verify a candidate’s skills and qualifications.
Elected members serve four-year terms, while those appointed could serve indefinitely.
District 6 Alder Jeremy Slowinski spoke against appointing individuals to seats. He sees the election process as part of the city’s checks and balances.
“It’s not broke, why change it,” Slowinski explained. “I would much rather keep it the way it is, allow the voters to make that decision, and keep those checks and balances.”
Committee leaders noted that qualification requirements could be made on elected office seats if necessary.
Mayor Mike Wiza and others stated these types of restrictions on the election process could cause issues if not handled correctly.
“Just because you have your CPA or are a Bar member (and licensed) to practice in Wisconsin, doesn’t necessarily make you a good person, nice person, or capable for any of those positions,” Wiza said. “If it’s requirements that you want, you need to vet those carefully to make sure we are getting what we want.”
Officials noted that discussions on elected versus appointed positions also took place in the city in 2012.
No action was taken during the discussion. City leaders will continue the talks at later meetings. City residents with input of this development are encouraged to send feedback to the city clerk at https://stevenspoint.com/formcenter/Contact-Us-6/Contact-the-City-Clerk-56 .
Contact Taylor J. Hale at [email protected] with Portage County news and information.