Committee to vote on contingency funds

Most requests no longer need to go before full board
Kevin Passon

Shawano County supervisors agreed Nov. 15 that requests for the use of contingency funds will no longer need to be brought before the full board, starting in 2024.

Instead, such requests will continue to be brought before the appropriate home committee and, if approved, be forwarded to the executive committee for final approval.

That change was notably the most significant of the proposed rule changes that govern board operations.

Requests for the use of contingency funds now require a two-thirds majority of the county board for approval. The original rule change that transferred that authority to the executive committee did not specify how many committee members needed to approve of using the funds for it to be valid.

Supervisor Arlyn Tober said that in years past, a two-thirds vote of the board was needed to use contingency funds.

“When a department comes to a committee and says, ‘Hey, we need to use this,’ it still needs a committee two-thirds vote to get that action to take place,” said Jim Davel, administrative coordinator. “And that would be the same thing for the executive committee to use the contingency fund.”

Tober noted that, although that may be the standard in Robert’s Rules of Order, it does not explicitly say that in the board rules.

County Board Chairman Tom Kautza said there are two reasons for using the executive committee instead of the full board. First, the committee oversees the operation of the county’s finance division and the expenditure of funds. Second, it would save time in allocating the use of the funds, which are generally sought for emergency situations, by not having to wait for the next board meeting.

Davel said he and Carrie Buntjer, finance director, asked for the change.

“The reason, quite frankly, as Tom (Kautza) alluded to, these are usually emergency action requests that we have to get after quickly,” Davel said. “There’s a lot of time we are executing the work before there’s a vote, because it’s that dire, and we need to use the funding from the contingency fund.”

In 2024, there will be $250,000 in the contingency fund.

Davel said that in approving the budget, the board already approved of the contingency fund and its use for emergency situations.

The vote to require a two-thirds majority of the executive committee to release the funds was approved on a 13-11 vote, with two members absent.

Executive committee transfers from the contingency fund shall not exceed the amount set up in the contingency fund as adopted in the annual budget, nor aggregate in the case of an individual office, department or activity in excess of 10% of the funds originally provided for such office, department or activity in such annual budget. Transfers in excess of 10% must follow the budget amendment process and be approved by the full county board.