Fritz fills open county board seat
BY MIKE WARREN
STEVENS POINT – Steve Fritz is the newest member of the Portage County Board of Supervisors. Fritz was appointed by the board during its monthly meeting Aug. 15. The vote was 14-9 in favor of Fritz’s appointment. He will fill the unexpired term of Mike Olson.
“My concern here is, just like for the District 3 appointments, we do seem to be appointing…I should say not we, but the Executive Ops Committee, seems to be appointing someone who will kind of fall in line with the agenda to build the justice center,” said District 1 Supervisor Vinnie Miresse. “While I do agree that we do need to have a justice center, we do need to have representative democracy first, and having that means appointing somebody who actually supports the constituents’ will in that district,” Miresse added. “We had the same thing with District 3. Two longtime supervisors that both applied, could hit the ground running, yet they did not fulfill the mission and same vision as the Executive Operations Committee. And now it’s happening again with District 16. We have another former supervisor who could literally walk in the door, take a vote tonight and understand all of the little nuances of county government and do a very good job, yet they were not chosen because it is suspected that they do not fall in line with the vision for a greenfield site for the justice center. That was even asked of him when he talked to members of the Executive Operations Committee. ‘Where do you stand on this?’ Wow. That is very telling,” Miresse continued. “So, I am going to vote ‘no’ tonight to Mr. Fritz, and I apologize Steve. I’m not voting against you. I’m voting against the Executive Operations Committee and their process.”
District 11 Supervisor Stan Potocki, who voted in favor of Fritz as a member of the Executive Operations Committee, changed his vote at the county board level, based largely on phone calls he received and the comments of Supervisors Miresse and Joan Honl, prior to his remarks.
“I am a firm believer that there’s no Democrats or Republicans as far as county government goes, and when I hear someone making comments either way it shows to me that this person is not non-partisan, and that is the reason I’m going to vote against him tonight,” Potocki said during board discussion.
“So, when this was placed before us I put a lot of weight on the fact that Mr. Fritz was the only other candidate from the public that was rejected by the public,” said Chairman Al Haga, also Chair of the Executive Operations Committee. “None of the other seven applicants ran an election for that position, or were willing to raise their hand at that time. It was either convenient or easy to just simply fill out an application and then become a supervisor, versus someone who needs to – as we all do – either run a campaign or have to go out and knock on doors and talk to the people and try and answer the questions,” Haga added. “We had the Executive Ops meeting. The only ones that showed up was Mr. Fritz and Mr. (John) Bertelson, of all the applicants,” Haga added.
Fritz will fill the District 16 seat for at least the remainder of Olson’s term, which expires April