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Town clerk resigns just after contract renewed PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 19:59

Karrels’ decision to step down for personal reasons leaves Port officials searching for new employee

Just a month after they renewed the contract of Port Washington Town Clerk Cheryl Karrels for a year, the Town Board is seeking a new clerk.

Karrels resigned effective Wednesday, Jan. 18, and during a special board meeting Monday officials decided to advertise for a new clerk.

Deputy Town Clerk Doris Schlenvogt is expected to fill in until a new clerk is hired, officials said. If she does not have the time to handle the upcoming elections, Town Chairman Jim Melichar said he would take the necessary steps to take on the task.

Karrels, who was hired by the town on July 15, 2015, turned in her resignation Jan. 6.

She said she recently moved to the Muskego area and, due to a pending divorce, needed to find a full-time job with benefits. 

“I wanted to stay with the town but due to my circumstances, I need health insurance,” Karrels said. “That was never going to happen here.

“I’m sad it’s come to this. I did enjoy working for the town.”

Karrels was paid $35,100 annually.

Melichar said that after receiving Karrels’ resignation, he contacted the applicants who last sought the clerk’s job to see if they were still interested.

Four people said they were interested in the job, he said, including one new candidate.

“We had good applicants,” he said, including some longtime town residents. 

It might benefit the town to forego the application process and select from that pool, Melichar said, especially with a February primary election looming.

“Do we want to drag this out and go through the election process without a clerk?” he asked.

The county won’t help out during the election, Melichar said, so the town needs to find someone.

Former Town Clerk Jenny Schlenvogt said it would be best to seek new applicants, saying that would make the process “fair and balanced.”

“What if you find someone with municipal experience who might be interested?” she asked, noting the town could find a candidate with the qualifications to run an election.

Only asking previous applicants, especially for a part-time job with a relatively large salary “isn’t fair to me as a taxpayer,” Schlenvogt added.

She also questioned whether the previous candidates would be right for the job. “If you have a candidate who’s still available after 18 months, is that someone you really want?” Schlenvogt asked.

Supr. Mike Didier said it’s unlikely the town will find an applicant with election experience, but Schlenvogt said it is possible for a new clerk to run the election.

A six-hour training class is all that’s required, she said, adding the town’s chief election inspector is “very competent.”

Karrels said the work on election day is handled primarily by poll workers, but there is a significant amount of work done by the clerk before and after an election.
Given that the February election is a statewide primary that won’t draw the same turnout as a gubernatorial or presidential election, Schlenvogt said, “it would be a good introduction for a clerk.”

 Didier said he wouldn’t have a problem either advertising for candidates or appointing from the previous applicants.

“No one’s going to complain you held it open to get more people,” he noted, while some will complain if the town doesn’t do that.

“We just don’t want to drag it out.”

Resident John Taucher said the prudent thing is to advertise for applicants.

“I think it might be wise to open it up, see what other applicants you get,” he said. “In the meantime, you have to have someone to run the shop, an interim clerk.”

The deputy clerk is charged with handling the duties when the clerk is absent, board members noted, adding they would check with Doris Schlenvogt to see if she has the time to devote to the job until a new clerk is hired.

The Town Board will accept applications for the job until 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6. The board will review the applications that night and decide whether to interview candidates or hire someone immediately.Daily Press