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City government position could move from elected to appointed position



Lehrke has been the city’s clerk for 24 years, after winning her seventh election.  

A proposed change in La Crosse city government has support on the city council.

North side city council rep. Andrea Richmond is among those in favor of the plan to make the city’s clerk an appointed position — rather than elected. Something the council will vote on next month.

Richmond says the knowledge and skills needed for the job are too great to be left up to the whim of the voters in an election.

“You just can’t have somebody walk in off the street, winning an election and knowing what to do,” Richmond said of the city clerk position. 

“Things have changed with what city clerks do now compared to what they did before. There’s a lot more technology and a lot more knowledge that is needed.”

Lehrke has been the city’s clerk for 24 years. Pay for the position was just increased to $75,000 annually.

It’s unclear whether that would increase if the clerk is appointed. If not, the clerk would be, by far, the lowest paid department head in city hall.

The city clerk is part of the city’s charter ordinance, so that would have to be changed by the council.

Lehrke has just been re-elected to the position and will serve a four-year term, so the change would take effect in 2021.

“I think it’s long overdue,” Richmond said. “We should have done it years ago, probably.”

Proof of that is how essential current clerk Teri Lehrke has become to the city’s operation, Richmond said.

“Teri lehrke is the expert down there,” Richmond said. “And, I think, going forward with an appointed position, whether it is in the city clerk’s office, as well, I think that’s very, very important.

Lehrke beat out challenger, and former city council president, Audrey Kader for the job in the last election.

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