Co. Exec. Kerkman Responds to Donor With Cold Feet

Nov. 18, 2022 11:30a

(WGTD)---Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman is assuring the head of a foundation that has offered a $675,000 challenge grant for the restoration of the ceremonial courtroom in the courthouse that the project won’t suffer because the man in charge is being laid off.

The public works department position of Frank Martinelli was eliminated by the county board earlier this month, ostensibly for budget reasons. But the county supervisors who voted against the move claim that a political vendetta was involved.

In a letter to Kerkman, Jeffris Family Foundation President Thomas Jeffris said the foundation's contribution could be "in peril" because of the pending departure of Martinelli, who will take with him a level of expertise that could be difficult to replicate.

In her response, Kerkman praised Martinelli, but also noted the board’s decision to eliminate his position. No matter what, Kerkman went on to say that the county is committed to successfully carrying out the restoration by assigning the work to someone still in the department, or to the person who eventually is hired to fill a new position.

The new position—created by the board when it voted to eliminate  Martinelli’s job--combines the duties of Martinelli and another worker who was also laid off. 

The political firestorm has stalled the county’s capital improvement budget for next year. A borrowing resolution failed to get the required three-quarters board majority vote.