Pending Supervisor Resignation Triggers County Board Action to Ensure Continuous Representation When Vacancies Occur

June 15, 2018
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
County Board

Supervisor George Gillis announced today that he will be resigning from the County Board as a result of a move to a new neighborhood.  Gillis represents District 14, which includes wards 96 - 100 on the southwest side of the City of Madison. 


“I have been fortunate to serve the neighborhoods in district 14 over the past five years,” said Gillis.  “My work on various standing committees has allowed me to appreciate the many ways county government impacts the residents of this county in a positive way.  This county is special, and I intend to continue to contribute to the community, just not as an elected official at this time.  I intend to formally resign on Friday, June 22nd.”   


“I want to thank Supervisor Gillis for his dedication to the issues important to his district,” said Chair Corrigan.  “We will miss his perspective and deep understanding of intergovernmental relations.”


As a result of Gillis’ resignation, the Dane County Board is considering addressing a conflict between State law and County ordinances that would cause a seat to sit vacant in 2018.  Current County Ordinances require a special election, but State law prohibits such an election until after the fall general election. 


“It is concerning that a vacancy at this point in the term would mean the district would have no representation for the better part of a year, including through the county’s budget process in the fall,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. 


The proposed amendment authorizes the board chair to make a temporary appointment to fill a vacancy in the office of county supervisor, with confirmation by the full board, if the vacancy occurs early in the term, subject to a special election during the next regular spring election.


The appointment process is rigorous. It requires the person seeking appointment to circulate nomination papers, gathering the signatures of 25 electors residing in the district, followed by a public hearing to be held in the district.  The dates for declaration of candidacy and the two-week period for circulation of nominating papers will be set by the County Clerk once the seat is vacated.  The Board Chair must make an appointment to fill the seat within a month of the vacancy, followed by confirmation by the County Board. The person appointed to the seat and confirmed will hold office until running for the remainder of the term in the 2019 Spring election. 


“Clearly, having a special election as soon as possible makes sense,” noted Corrigan.  “However, state statutes preclude that from happening this year.  The appointment process will allow the people of District 14 to continue to have a seat at the county government table.”