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Incumbents return in 9 of 11 Walworth County districts

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Mike Heine/Special to the Gazette
April 1, 2008
— The new Walworth County Board will look pretty much the same as before, only smaller.

Incumbents returned to office Tuesday in all but two of the 11 districts, one of which had only newcomers running.


Challenger Frederick Mark Bromley unseated Ann Lohrmann in District 3, which covers La Grange, parts of Sugar Creek and Whitewater townships and part of the city of Whitewater.


Challengers were unsuccessful in six other races. The remaining three races pitted incumbent versus incumbent.


Lohrmann, a supervisor since 1994, championed for the board’s downsizing from 25 supervisors but was voted out, 826-687. She did not immediately return messages left at her home and on her cell phone.


Bromley said the votes in all the districts showed residents were satisfied with the prior board.


“I think it says that the electorate wanted a smaller board, but they were happy with the board members they had,” he said. “Once people had a chance to reflect on the choices, they wanted a smaller board to consist largely of people who have been there.”


The other newcomer is Claudia Holst from Whitewater Township.


The new board of 11 will first have to make committee appointments and select a chairperson. It meets Tuesday, April 15, and Thursday, April 17.


It will also soon decide if it wants to renew County Administrator David Bretl’s contract.


Bretl signed a contract in September that expires May 31. The contract was to give the new board options on what route it wanted to take regarding his position, Bretl said.


The contract also would give Bretl an out if he was dissatisfied with the makeup or functioning of the new board.


“I will fight tooth and nail to keep Dave Bretl,” said incumbent Kathy Ingersoll, who won District 6 in Elkhorn and part of Sugar Creek. “The past few years, with Dave’s leadership, the board has been able to accomplish the good things that it has.”


The board also will have to reach contracts with five of the seven employee unions. The fate of those negotiations will determine if the county will need to make cuts this year and add more money to its health insurance budget. The 2008 budget was built on the premise of cost-saving changes to employee health insurance plans.


With nine incumbents remaining, there is a good chance the board will retain the level of services it offers, including running a school for children with disabilities and a health care center.


“I think the new board will be very consistent with the old board. I don’t see a big change there,” said incumbent Jim Van Dreser, who won in District 9 in the southwestern corner of the county.



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