Nasewaupee Board to Expand to Five Members in 2023

Nasewaupee’s town board will be adding two supervisors following next spring’s elections.

The board supported an advisory motion backed at last month’s annual town meeting when it unanimously approved an ordinance May 19 to increase the number of supervisors from two to four.

“It’s still our decision, but I don’t see anything wrong with it,” said town chair Steve Sullivan.

Nasewaupee is Door County’s third-largest municipality by population, but its three-member board – with a town chair and two supervisors – is smaller than in six of the county’s towns with fewer people, as well as in all four villages that have smaller populations and five board members.

The ordinance initially calls for electing all five board members next April, with the town chair and two supervisors elected for two-year terms and two other supervisors elected for one-year terms to create staggered terms for the supervisors, in accordance with state law.

In the spring of 2024, the two supervisor seats elected in 2023 to one-year terms would switch to two-year terms.

Referendum Questions

Nasewaupee voters will be asked at the polls this November whether they favor switching from electing the town clerk and treasurer to having the board appoint those two positions.

The board unanimously approved an ordinance to place the following two questions on the Nov. 8 ballot:

• Shall the person holding the office of town clerk in the Town of Nasewaupee be appointed by the town board?

• Shall the person holding the office of town treasurer in the Town of Nasewaupee be appointed by the town board?

If approved, the positions’ salaries would be set by the town board and could not be reduced during the term in office. The term would be set by the board, but it could not exceed three years, according to the ordinance.

The appointed clerk and treasurer could be reappointed for additional terms, subject to town board approval, but their removal during a given term may be only for “cause,” as defined in state law.

Current town clerk Jill Lau – who is also the elected Door County clerk – spoke in favor of switching from an elected to an appointed clerk. Lau said that aside from attending meetings and taking minutes, the biggest part of the town clerk’s job is elections. If an elected clerk doesn’t keep up with the required election training, the board cannot remove the clerk from office, but it can if the town clerk is appointed.

“I have been in favor of appointing a town clerk since probably 2007,” she said. 

On the other hand, current town treasurer Carol Russell said she didn’t agree with switching her position from elected to appointed. 

“I think like two people or three people [on the board] shouldn’t be deciding who the town officers are,” she said. “I think it should be the whole community [deciding].”

Russell said she didn’t object to placing a referendum before voters to let them decide whether the town treasurer should be appointed.

When she asked about the possibility of the clerk and treasurer being combined into one position, Sullivan said, “It’s kind of nice to have two separate people to kind of audit each other.”