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Minor, not major, change made to St. Croix County Board meeting hours

St. Croix County Board will continue to include alternating evening and morning meetings, despite an effort to change that arrangement.

The board currently meets at 9 a.m. from November to February and at 5 p.m. between March and October. A bylaw proposal at the board's April 2 meeting sought to change the morning meetings to an hour earlier.

Before voting on the bylaw update, Supervisor Roy Sjoberg proposed moving all County Board meetings to 5 p.m. He said the morning meeting times can be a struggle for some board members who work during the day.

"I think it's a hardship," said Sjoberg, a District 5 supervisor from Hudson.

But Judy Achterhof, District 17 supervisor from Emerald, contended the evening treks during winter months could be a barrier for board members traveling from the county's east side to the Government Center in Hudson. She added that a standing 5 p.m. meeting arrangement wouldn't be fair to board members who work second-shift jobs.

Supervisor Andy Brinkman asked if county staff had a preference. County Administrator Pat Thompson said that while staff would prefer day meetings, employees would abide any decision by the board.

"The staff will be here whenever the board meets," he said.

Sjoberg's motion failed 6-11.

The board ultimately approved a change that moves the morning meetings from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The bylaw change also ended the practice of having the County Board chairperson read written remarks offered during the public comment period.

Corporation Counsel Attorney Scott Cox explained the change was proposed amid concerns that reading comments critical of the board could put the chairperson in an "uncomfortable" position. The proposed change doesn't limit citizens' ability to email board members.

But District 12 Supervisor Dan Hansen said the proposed change would curtail options for people struggling with anxiety disorders or physical limitations who want their input read aloud.

Cox noted that it doesn't prevent the writer to have someone else attend the meeting and read the letter aloud on the writer's behalf.

Hansen's effort to keep the current policy — allowing the chair to read comments — failed 4-13.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin. 

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