Retiring supervisors Frank, McMahon recognized

Only four of the 31 districts will have contested races April 2
Warren Bluhm
News Editor

CORRECTION: Supervisor Doug McMahon was misidentified in the original version of this story. We apologize for the error.

The Oconto County Board saluted two of its members attending their last meeting March 21. Supervisors Gary Frank and Doug McMahon decided not to run for re-election.

McMahon, a former county sheriff who has been on the board for many years, accepted a certificate of recognition from County Board Chairman Alan Sleeter with a “thank you.”

Frank, often one of the more vocal supervisors, had some parting thoughts. When he first ran, Frank thought he would serve six years — three two-year terms — and ended up on the board for a decade.

“Not discouraging Elmer, but when I first got on the board, there were a lot of really old people on the board, and I decided at that time that I was not staying past 80,” Frank said, kidding Supervisor Elmer Ragen, who in his 90s is the longest-serving county board supervisor in Wisconsin. “If I ran again, I would have been on the board past 80, so I decided to keep my word.”

He said he enjoyed his time on the board “making trouble” and urged supervisors to keep asking questions of administrators and staff.

“There’s no reason why a question you have should go unanswered, so ask questions and be active,” Frank said.

During her monthly report to the board, Jayme Sellen, executive director of the Tourism and Economic Development Corp. for the Oconto Region, thanked Frank for his service on the TEDCOR board.

“He also asked me a lot of questions, and at first I didn’t like it, but he made better,” Sellen said.

Frank got in some final licks, making a successful motion to change the county board rules to clarify that supervisors have a right to speak at committee meetings, even if they’re not members of that committee.

The previous rule said that a supervisor wishing to speak “may be recognized by the chair,” giving the chair the option of deciding not to recognize the would-be speaker. Frank’s rule changed the rule to say that supervisors “shall” be recognized if they wish to speak.

“I am such a free speech absolutist that I object to something that says ‘except when the chair doesn’t like the supervisor,’” Frank said.

His motion passed 16-8.

Tracy Winkler is running unopposed to succeed Frank in District 25, representing all of the Town of Underhill and part of the Town of Gillett. McMahon represented District 26, where Mike Beyer and Todd Carlson will square off in the April 2 election, covering the village of Suring and Town of Maple Valley.

The race between Beyer and Carlson is one of only four of the 31 districts that will see contested races this year.

• Ragen is challenged by Rhonda Strehlow in District 1, which covers part of the Town of Little Suamico.

• Supervisor John Wittkopf faces a challenge from Riley Sowle in District 13, which includes part of the city of Oconto.

• Supervisor Judy Buhrandt is being challenged by David Van Zealand in District 29, covering all of the Town of Mountain and part of the Town of Townsend.