As I See It
La Crosse County has gotten its money’s worth from administrator
The search for a new La Crosse County Administrator will get underway soon. That is a good thing. Administrator Steve O’Malley plans to retire later this summer after 19 years on the job. He was the county’s first administrator, and the decision by the County Board to relinquish power to an unelected person was not without controversy. Some current members of the board suggest the county should no longer have an administrator position, and return to the days when supervisors and the county board chair were the ones in charge. That would be a mistake. Under O’Malley’s leadership, La Crosse County government has become more efficient. Taxes at the county level are among the lowest in the state, decreasing for each of the last five years, and the county has a solid bond rating. The county’s court system, including a veteran’s court and an OWI court, have become models statewide. O’Malley was instrumental in turning the Lakeview Nursing Home, which drained county resources for years, into a money maker. None of this would have happened without the experience of a full-time administrator. O’Malley has put La Crosse County on solid footing, and the county needs a new administrator to continue that work.
May 13, 2022 at 5:59 am
I tried unsuccessfully with Mr. O’Malley and the County Board to get an independent audit of the Lot C transactions, which I had opposed in a hearing before the Board. I just thought the public should know if
the transactions had been a good deal for the public considering that Mr. Weber had sold the project in the first place on the promise of 500 new jobs. I was assured by Mr. O’Malley that the transactions were a good deal. Of course, what I wanted was an independent audit as Mr. O’Malley’s opinion might be prejudicial since he was involved in promoting the transactions. Former Tribune editor Rusty Cunningham e-mailed me that an audit might be something to look into. The new editor was made aware of my request for an independent audit, but has done nothing to address my concern except to apparently ignore it. The Lot C transactions were a significant undertaking, but it appears as to any independent evaluation, we’ll just have to take Mr. O’Malley’s word that it was a good deal.