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La Crosse County supervisors learn about traditional roles of county officials in Wisconsin government



Two months after Wisconsin’s spring elections, many new members of county boards are still learning how to handle that job.

La Crosse County supervisors got some guidance Monday from the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA).

Sarah Diedrick-Kasdorf, the WCA outreach director, spoke to the board about what services counties offer and what’s expected of that level of government.

Diedrick-Kasdorf said state government has a good deal of control over counties but counties occasionally do challenge the state’s authority.

“We sue the director of state courts, and it goes before a state judge,” Diedrick-Kasdorf said. “Now, who do you think won that case? Not us.”

But Diedrick-Kasdorf added that counties have gone to the legislature to change state law.

In Wisconsin’s early days as a territory, 200 years ago, the state was divided into three large counties and much of the western part was included in Crawford County. It wasn’t until 1901 when Wisconsin was split into 71 counties — now up to 72.

Diedrick-Kasdorf referred to the county role in planning for the future, calling supervisors “visionaries.”

“Instead of thinking about things in the short term, the day-to-day operations, we ask you, as members of the county board, to think strategically,” Diedrick-Kasdorf said. “To think about what it is you want your county to look like, 5, 10, 15 years out, not what should we be doing today or tomorrow. “

Diedrick-Kasdorf added that counties also provide court services and consumer protection.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lucenut

    June 12, 2024 at 11:38 am

    So we have a lobbying group “teaching” our elected officials what they are supposed to be doing. This is wrong on so many levels.

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