Randy Ravenscroft is the new County Highway Commissioner


New Highway Commissioner Appointed

The Marquette County Board of Supervisors voted 9-8 last week to elect Randy Ravenscroft to the position of Highway Commissioner. Ravenscroft has been working for the department for ten years and served as interim Highway Commissionser during an administrative investigation and subsequent removal of former Highway Commissioner Brenden Rhinehart.                                      

During the meeting, both Ravenscroft and Pat Cadigan, Eastern Columbia County Highway Supervisor, the other candidate for the position, gave three-minute speeches. Ravenscroft focused on the work he did as interim commissioner, such as installing the new culverts in Packwaukee, satisfactory township work and keeping all the men working on a tight budget.

Cadigan spoke of knowledge on the administrative end, working with grants and various programs to help pay for roadwork.
A continuation of the ballot voting process then resumed from the month before that had resulted in five tie votes with one supervisor absent. This time, Ravenscroft came out ahead by one vote to secure the position.

Supervisors who voted for Ravenscroft were: Jon Sheller, John Johnston, Mary Walters, Peter Steuck, Paul Wade, Sherwin Lloyd, Robin Bucholz, Robert Miller, and Marv Groskreutz. Supervisors who voted for Cadigan were: Lyle Snyder, Frank Breitenbach, Dan Klawitter, Shirley Floeter, Bob Goldsmith, Mike Raddatz, Jan Banicki and Jerry Hebert.

After the vote Cadigan commented, “I appreciate the opportunity to make it this far. It means a lot and I wish Randy the best of luck. He has worked hard to be the new highway commissioner.”
Ravenscroft also thought the interview process went well and wished the best to Cadigan. As commissioner, he plans to work hard to stay under budget and manage the roads to the best of his ability with the budget he has to work with.

In other business, the county met in closed session to hear an update on a lawsuit that was filed by former com missioner Brenden Rhinehart seeking to be reinstated with back pay and benefits from the time of his termination until what would have been the end of his term in March 2016. The case, which is being handled by the county’s insurance company, will be moved to federal court, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The board also received a notice of circumstance and claim from Robin Spitzer and Steven Spitzer in regards to the Clean Energy North America (CENA) biogas pipeline that is being planned for installation between New Chester Dairy in Adams County and Brakebush Brothers Chicken in Westfield.

The claim cites state statute 86.16, that a company can request permission from the County to “construct and operate telegraph, telephone or electric lines, or pipes or pipelines for the purpose of transmitting messages, water, heat, light or power.”  The statute does not state biogas, which leads Joshua D. Maggard, an attorney for Quarles & Brady, LLP who was hired by the Spitzers, to believe that the county is in violation of the statute.

The document goes on to claim that in certain circumstances, the county may not have the right to grant permission for pipeline to be laid underneath or adjacent to the road. In this instance, the claim states that the County will be liable to the landowner for taking property without just compensation, in violation of the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions, for violation of Wis. Statute 32.10, and for damages for trespass and nuisance.

The claim requests that the County vacate its decision granting CENA permission to construct its pipeline in the county highway right-of-way for the reasons cited.
The county supervisors voted to disallow, and turned the claim over to the county’s insurance company.