The board may establish a civil service system of selection, tenure and status, and the system may be made applicable to all county personnel, except the members of the board, constitutional officers and members of boards and commissions. The system may also include uniform provisions in respect to classification of positions and salary ranges, payroll certification, attendance, vacations, sick leave, competitive examinations, hours of work, tours of duty or assignments according to earned seniority, employee grievance procedure, disciplinary actions, layoffs and separations for just cause, as described in par. (b)
, subject to approval of a civil service commission or the board. The board may request the assistance of the department of administration and pay for such services, under s. 16.58
A law enforcement employee of the county may not be suspended, demoted, dismissed or suspended and demoted by the civil service commission or by the board, based either on its own investigation or on charges filed by the sheriff, unless the commission or board determines whether there is just cause, as described in this paragraph, to sustain the charges. In making its determination, the commission or the board shall apply the following standards, to the extent applicable:
Whether the employee could reasonably be expected to have had knowledge of the probable consequences of his or her alleged conduct.
Whether the rule or order that the employee allegedly violated is reasonable.
Whether the sheriff, before filing a charge against the employee, made a reasonable effort to discover whether the employee did in fact violate a rule or order.
Whether the effort described under subd. 3.
was fair and objective.
Whether the sheriff discovered substantial evidence that the employee violated the rule or order as described in the charges filed against the employee.
Whether the sheriff is applying the rule or order fairly and without discrimination to the employee.
Whether the proposed discipline reasonably relates to the seriousness of the alleged violation and to the employee's record of service with the sheriff's department.
If a law enforcement employee of the county is dismissed, demoted, suspended or suspended and demoted by the civil service commission or the board under the system established under par. (a)
, the person dismissed, demoted, suspended or suspended and demoted may appeal from the order of the civil service commission or the board to the circuit court by serving written notice of the appeal on the secretary of the commission or the board within 10 days after the order is filed. Within 5 days after receiving written notice of the appeal, the commission or the board shall certify to the clerk of the circuit court the record of the proceedings, including all documents, testimony and minutes. The action shall then be at issue and shall have precedence over any other cause of a different nature pending in the court, which shall always be open to the trial thereof. The court shall upon application of the accused or of the board or the commission fix a date of trial which shall not be later than 15 days after the application except by agreement. The trial shall be by the court and upon the return of the board or the commission, except that the court may require further return or the taking and return of further evidence by the board or the commission. The question to be determined by the court shall be: Upon the evidence is there just cause, as described in par. (b)
, to sustain the charges against the employee? No cost shall be allowed either party and the clerk's fees shall be paid by the county. If the order of the board or the commission is reversed, the accused shall be immediately reinstated and entitled to pay as though in continuous service. If the order of the board or the commission is sustained, it shall be final and conclusive.
(9) Purchasing agent.
The board may appoint a person or committee as county purchasing agent, and provide compensation for their services. Any county officer or supervisor may be the agent or a committee member. The purchasing agent shall provide all supplies and equipment for the various county offices and the board chairperson shall promptly sign orders in payment therefor. The board may require that all purchases be made in the manner determined by it.
(10) Salaries and automobile allowance; when payable.
Salaries of county officers and employees shall be paid at the end of each month, but the board of any county may authorize the payment of such salaries semimonthly or once in every 2 weeks in such manner as it may determine. Payment for automobile allowance to officers and employees, duly authorized to use privately owned automobiles in their work for the county, shall be made upon certification of the respective department heads in a manner similar to that in which salaries are paid, provided such method of payment of automobile allowance is authorized by ordinance specifically stating the departments to which it applies.
(a) Liability and property damage.
Provide public liability and property damage insurance, either in commercial companies or by self-insurance created by setting up an annual fund for such purpose or by a combination thereof, covering without limitation because of enumeration motor vehicles, malfeasance of professional employees, maintenance and operation of county highways, parks, parkways and airports and any other county activities involving the possibility of damage to the general public.
(b) Fire and casualty.
Provide for fire and casualty insurance for all county property.
Provide for individual or group hospital, surgical and life insurance for county officers and employees and for payment of premiums for county officers and employees. A county with at least 100 employees may elect to provide health care benefits on a self-insured basis to its officers and employees. A county and one or more cities, villages, towns, other counties, or county housing authorities that together have at least 100 employees may jointly provide health care benefits to their officers and employees on a self-insured basis. Counties that elect to provide health care benefits on a self-insured basis to their officers and employees shall be subject to the requirements set forth under s. 120.13 (2) (c)
Bonds of officers and employees.
Provide for the protection of the county and public against loss or damage resulting from the act, neglect or default of county officers, department heads and employees and may contract for and procure bonds or contracts of insurance to accomplish that purpose either from commercial companies or by self-insurance created by setting up an annual fund for such purpose or by a combination thereof. Any number of officers, department heads or employees not otherwise required by statute to furnish an official bond may be combined in a schedule or blanket bond or contract of insurance. So far as applicable ss. 19.01 (2)
, (4) (d)
shall apply to the bonds or contracts of insurance. The bond shall be for a definite period. Each renewal of the bond shall constitute a new bond for the principal amount covering the renewal period.
See also s. Ins 8.11
, Wis. adm. code.
(12) Accounts and claims; settlement.
The board may:
Examine and settle all accounts of the county and all claims, demands or causes of action against the county and issue county orders therefor. In counties with a population of less than 50,000, the board may delegate its power in regard to current accounts, claims, demands or causes of action against the county to a standing committee where the amount does not exceed $5,000. In counties with a population of 50,000 or more, the board may delegate its power in regard to current accounts, claims, demands or causes of action against the county to a standing committee if the amount does not exceed $10,000. Instead of delegating its power under this paragraph to a standing committee, the board may, by resolution adopted by majority vote, delegate such power to the chairperson of a standing committee. Such a resolution remains in effect for one year after its effective date or until rescinded, whichever occurs first.
Delegate its power in regard to any claim, demand or cause of action not exceeding $500 to the corporation counsel. If the corporation counsel finds that payment of the claim to a claimant is justified, the corporation counsel may order the claim paid. The claim shall be paid upon certification of the corporation counsel and shall be annually reported to the board.
(13) Injured county workers.
The board may, in addition to any payments made under ch. 102
, make further payment in such amounts as the board determines to any county employee injured at any time before January 1, 1937, while performing services for the county, in cases in which such further payments were made over a period of time following the injury and were based on a moral obligation to such employee.
(14) Optical disk and electronic storage. 59.52(14)(a)(a)
Upon request of any office, department, commission, board or agency of the county, the board may authorize any county record that is in the custody of the office, department, commission, board or agency to be transferred to, or maintained in, optical disk or electronic storage in accordance with rules of the department of administration under s. 16.612
. The board may thereafter authorize destruction of the original record, if appropriate, in accordance with sub. (4)
and ss. 16.61 (3) (e)
and 19.21 (5)
unless preservation is required by law.
Any copy of a county record generated from optical imaging or electronic formatting of an original record is considered an original record if all of the following conditions are met:
The devices used to transform the record to optical disk or electronic format and to generate a copy of the record from optical disk or electronic format are ones which accurately reproduce the content of the original.
The optical disk or electronic copy and the copy generated from optical disk or electronic format comply with the minimum standards of quality for such copies, as established by the rule of the department of administration under s. 16.612
The record is arranged, identified and indexed so that any individual document or component of the record can be located with the use of proper equipment.
The legal custodian of the record executes a statement of intent and purpose describing the record to be transferred to optical disk or electronic format and the disposition of the original record, and executes a certificate verifying that the record was received or created and transferred to optical disk or electronic format in the normal course of business and that the statement of intent and purpose is properly recorded in his or her office.
The statement of intent and purpose executed under par. (b) 4.
is presumptive evidence of compliance with all conditions and standards prescribed under par. (b)
A copy of a record generated from an original record stored on an optical disk or in electronic format which conforms with the standards prescribed under par. (b)
shall be taken as and stand in lieu of and have all of the effect of the original record and shall be admissible in evidence in all courts and all other tribunals or agencies, administrative or otherwise, in all cases where the original document is admissible. A transcript, exemplification or certified copy of such a record so generated, for the purposes specified in this paragraph, is deemed to be a transcript, exemplification or certified copy of the original. An enlarged copy of any record so generated, made in accordance with the standards prescribed under par. (b)
and certified by the custodian as provided in s. 889.18 (2)
, has the same effect as an actual-size copy.
(15) Printing in local tax rolls, etc.
The board may provide for the printing in assessment rolls and tax rolls and on data cards for local municipal officials, the descriptions of properties and the names of the owners thereof, but no municipality shall be subject to any tax levied to effect these functions where the municipality provides its own printing for the functions.
(16) Payments in lieu of tax.
The board may:
(a) Institutions, state farms, airports.
Appropriate each year to any municipality and school district in which a county farm, hospital, charitable or penal institution or state hospital, charitable or penal institution or state-owned lands used for agricultural purposes or county or municipally owned airport is located, an amount of money equal to the amount which would have been paid in municipal and school tax upon the lands without buildings, if those lands were privately owned. The valuation of the lands, without buildings, and computation of the tax shall be made by the board. In making the computation under this paragraph, lands on which a courthouse or jail are located and unimproved county lands shall not be included.
If a county has acquired land and erected on that land housing facilities for rent by honorably discharged U.S. veterans of any war and the land and housing facilities are exempt from general taxation, appropriate money and pay to any school district or joint school district wherein the land and housing facilities are located a sum of money which shall be computed by obtaining the product of the following factors:
The tax rate for school district purposes of the school years for which the payment is made.
The ratio of the assessed valuation to the equalized valuation of the municipality in which the school district lies, multiplied by the actual cost incurred by the county for the acquisition of the land and improvements on the land used for such purposes.
In case of a joint school district, computation shall be made on the basis of the valuation of the several municipalities in which the school district lies. If school buildings are inadequate to accommodate the additional school population resulting from the county veterans housing program, and the school district cannot legally finance the necessary increased facilities, the board may appropriate money and grant assistance to the school district but the assistance shall be used solely to finance the purchase of land and the erection and equipment of the necessary additional facilities.
(17) Return of rents to municipalities.
The board may return to municipalities all or any part of rent moneys received by the county under leases of county-owned lands.
(18) Return of forest income to towns.
The board may return and distribute to the several towns in the county all or any part of any money received by the county from the sale of any product from county-owned lands which are not entered under the county forest law under s. 28.11
(19) Donations, gifts and grants.
The board may accept donations, gifts or grants for any public governmental purpose within the powers of the county.
(20) Sheriff's family pension.
The board may appropriate money to the family of any sheriff or sheriff's deputies killed while in the discharge of official duties.
(21) County commissions.
Except in counties having a population of 500,000 or more, the board may fix and pay the compensation of members of the county park commission and the county planning and zoning commission for attendance at meetings at a rate not to exceed the compensation permitted supervisors.
(22) County Boards' Association.
By a two-thirds vote, the board may purchase membership in an association of county boards for the protection of county interests and the furtherance of better county government.
(23) Purchase of publications.
The board may purchase publications dealing with governmental problems and furnish copies thereof to supervisors, officers and employees.
(24) Parking areas.
The board may enact ordinances establishing areas for parking of vehicles on lands owned or leased by the county; for regulating or prohibiting parking of vehicles on such areas or parts of such areas, including, but not limited to, provision for parking in such areas or parts thereof for only certain purposes or by only certain personnel; for forfeitures for violations thereof, but not to exceed $50 for each offense; and for the enforcement of such ordinances.
(25) Advisory and contingent referenda.
The board may conduct a countywide referendum for advisory purposes or for the purpose of ratifying or validating a resolution adopted or ordinance enacted by the board contingent upon approval in the referendum.
The board may procure transcripts or abstracts of the records of any other county affecting the title to real estate in such county, and such transcripts or abstracts shall be prima facie evidence of title.
(27) Bail bonds.
The authority of the board to remit forfeited bond moneys to the bondsmen or their heirs or legal representatives, where such forfeiture arises as a result of failure of a defendant to appear and where such failure to appear is occasioned by a justifiable cause, is hereby confirmed.
(28) Collection of court imposed penalties.
The board may adopt a resolution authorizing the clerk of circuit court, under s. 59.40 (4)
, to contract with a debt collector, as defined in s. 427.103 (3)
, for the collection of unpaid fines and forfeitures.
(29) Public work, how done; public emergencies. 59.52(29)(a)(a)
All public work, including any contract for the construction, repair, remodeling or improvement of any public work, building, or furnishing of supplies or material of any kind where the estimated cost of such work will exceed $25,000 shall be let by contract to the lowest responsible bidder. Any public work, the estimated cost of which does not exceed $25,000, shall be let as the board may direct. If the estimated cost of any public work is between $5,000 and $25,000, the board shall give a class 1 notice under ch. 985
before it contracts for the work or shall contract with a person qualified as a bidder under s. 66.0901 (2)
. A contract, the estimated cost of which exceeds $25,000, shall be let and entered into under s. 66.0901
, except that the board may by a three-fourths vote of all the members entitled to a seat provide that any class of public work or any part thereof may be done directly by the county without submitting the same for bids. This subsection does not apply to public construction if the materials for such a project are donated or if the labor for such a project is provided by volunteers. This subsection does not apply to highway contracts which the county highway committee or the county highway commissioner is authorized by law to let or make.
The provisions of par. (a)
are not mandatory for the repair or reconstruction of public facilities when damage or threatened damage thereto creates an emergency, as determined by resolution of the board, in which the public health or welfare of the county is endangered. Whenever the board by majority vote at a regular or special meeting determines that an emergency no longer exists, this paragraph no longer applies.
(30) Limitation on performance of highway work.
Notwithstanding ss. 66.0131
, and 83.035
, a county may not use its own workforce to perform a highway improvement project on a highway under the jurisdiction of another county or a municipality that is located in a different county unless one of the following applies:
A portion of the project lies within the county performing the work and no portion of the project extends beyond an adjoining county.
The project lies, wholly or in part, within a municipality that lies partially within the county performing the work.
(31) Public contracts, populous counties. 59.52(31)(a)(a)
In this subsection, "county" means any county with a population of 750,000 or more.
Any contract with a value of at least $100,000, but not more than $300,000, to which a county is a party and which satisfies any other statutory requirements, may take effect only if the board's finance committee does not vote to approve or reject the contract within 14 days after the contract is signed or countersigned by the county executive, or as described in subd. 2.
If a board's finance committee votes to approve a contract described under subd. 1.
, the contract may take effect. If a board's finance committee votes to reject a contract described under subd. 1.
, the contract may take effect only if the contract is approved by a vote of the board within 30 days after the board's finance committee votes to reject the contract.
Any single contract, or group of contracts between the same parties which generally relate to the same transaction, with a value or aggregate value of more than $300,000, to which a county is a party and which satisfies any other statutory requirements, may take effect only if it is approved by a vote of the board.
With regard to any contract to which a county is a party and which is subject to review by the board or by a committee of the board under this subsection, the board's finance committee is the only committee which has jurisdiction over the contract.
(32) Research department.
In any county with a population of 750,000 or more, the board may enact an ordinance creating a department in county government to provide independent and nonpartisan research services for the board and the county executive. The department may not consist of more than 4.0 full-time equivalent positions. Employees of the department shall be hired and supervised by the comptroller, and shall serve at the pleasure of the comptroller. Such a department shall respond to requests for services from the board and the county executive. The authority to create a department under this subsection may not be exercised after the county board enacts its budget for the 2017 fiscal year.
History: 1995 a. 201
; 1995 a. 225
; 1997 a. 35
; 1999 a. 9
; 1999 a. 150
; 2001 a. 16
; 2005 a. 22
; 2007 a. 20
, 9121 (6) (a)
; 2009 a. 369
; 2011 a. 32
; 2013 a. 14
; s. 35.17 correction in (31) (b) 2.
See s. 66.0137 (5)
as to payment of insurance premiums for employees.
See s. 66.0517
concerning appointment of a county weed commissioner.
A county can contract with employees for special reserved parking privileges in a county ramp. Dane Co. v. McManus, 55 Wis. 2d 413
, 198 N.W.2d 667
Section 59.08 [now s. 59.52 (29)] does not compel the purchase of equipment from the lowest bidder. Joyce v. Dunn County, 192 Wis. 2d 699
, 531 N.W.2d 628
(Ct. App. 1995).
Sub. (8) (c) does not provide the exclusive appeal remedy for discipline and termination of deputy sheriffs. A collective bargaining agreement providing for arbitration of disputes is enforceable. An employee may not pursue both a statutory appeal and arbitration however. Eau Claire County v. General Teamsters Union Local No. 662, 2000 WI 57
, 235 Wis. 2d 385
, 611 N.W.2d 744
Limitations on the power of a county to sell property without calling for public bids are discussed. 60 Atty. Gen. 425.
Counties are without power to furnish equipment or supplies for, or to contract to do repair work, on private roads and driveways. 61 Atty. Gen. 304.
A county board is without authority to establish an alternative retirement system. 61 Atty. Gen. 371.
A county civil service ordinance enacted under s. 59.07 (20) [now 59.52 (8)], or a collective bargaining agreement under s. 111.70, establishing a procedure to be followed prior to the discharge of a classified employee, supersedes and modifies s. 59.38 (1) [now s. 59.40 (1) (a)]. 63 Atty. Gen. 147.
Section 59.07 (1) [now s. 59.52 (6)] is not sufficiently broad to permit a county to furnish housing for elderly and low-income persons when specific statutes provide for furnishing such housing. 63 Atty. Gen. 297.
Under s. 59.07 (1) (d) 1. [now s. 59.52 (6) (d) 1.], counties have authority to establish a hospital outpatient health facility to be used to train general practitioners of medicine as part of a program with the Medical College of Wisconsin. 65 Atty. Gen. 172.
Under s. 59.07 (1) (c) [now s. 59.52 (6) (c)], counties may make gifts of land or interests in lands only to enumerated public entities. 67 Atty. Gen. 236.
Under s. 59.07 (3) [now s. 59.52 (12)], a county board may require that all bills and claims be examined by it. 68 Atty. Gen. 38.
A county may enact an ordinance requiring its contractors to agree to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment, even though the ordinance provides broader protection than state and federal laws. 70 Atty. Gen. 64.
Section 59.08 (1) [now s. 59.52 (29) (a)] does not apply to architectural services. 76 Atty. Gen. 182
A county has no statutory authority to award contracts only to unionized contractors. Federal preemption rules probably foreclose the exercise of such authority in any event. Federal preemption rules foreclose denying contracts to employers engaged in labor disputes. 79 Atty. Gen. 86
A county may not acquire land specifically for the purpose of leasing it to a private entity to operate a racetrack; it may lease land initially acquired for a public purpose to such private entity, unless the land has become surplus. 80 Atty. Gen. 80
A county board may not give land to a private corporation; the adequacy of a promise to build a factory on the land as consideration for the conveyance of land involves the application of the public purpose doctrine to the specific facts of the conveyance. 80 Atty. Gen. 341
A county with a population of less that 250,000 is not required to designate an official newspaper. A county is not required to seek bids for the publication of legal notices. Even if a county does not competitively bid the publication of its own proceedings as provided in sub. (3), it may print its own proceedings or post them on its web site. A county may not, in lieu of publication in a printed newspaper or posting on a physical bulletin board, post its legal notices on its official web site. OAG 2-08
The removal of the county auditor is subject to the specific civil service provisions established by ordinance or resolution of the county board under ss. 63.01 to 63.17 and is not governed by the more general removal provision contained in s. 17.10 (3). Rather than creating the separate office of county auditor pursuant under s. 59.47 (2), a county board could create a department of administration under s. 59.52 (1) (b) and assign administrative audit functions to that department under that statute. If the administrative function is under the jurisdiction of the county auditor the function may be assigned to the department of administration. A person in the department of administration who performs audit functions therefore need not be appointed using civil service procedures. OAG 6-08
Municipal competitive bidding statutes do not apply to projects undertaken by intergovernmental agreement or when the municipalities that will perform the work have made a determination under sub. (29) to do the work themselves with their own employees. OAG 5-09
Health and human services. 59.53(1)
Surplus commodity plans.
The board may adopt and participate in any surplus commodity absorption plan in connection with furnishing relief to needy persons within any municipality in the county and appropriate money to carry out such plan.