To The Editor:
An unfortunate situation within the Warren County governmental structure appears to have been resolved.
During the last couple of weeks a feud between the collector and the assessor regarding which office had responsibility for issuing statements of no tax due surfaced. The victims of this feud were the citizens of Warren County and the employees of the local Department of Motor Vehicles office.
Some questioned why the county commissioners did not do more to end this dispute.
County Counselor Mark Vincent explained to the commissioners that the assessor and collector, as elected officials, are responsible for running their respective offices. Quoting the holding in the case of Floyd v. Philpot, Mr. Vincent stated: “outside of the management of the fiscal affairs of the county, such (commissions) possess no powers except those conferred by statute.”
Vincent continued by explaining that there are no statutes which give the commissioners authority to tell other elected officials how to manage their offices. The last resort would be for the commission to bring an action in the circuit court for a writ of mandamus against the assessor and/or collector if either or both failed to perform their statutory duty.
The county commission elected to try to mediate the situation to see if a resolution short of litigation could be achieved. With the help of Jan Olearnick of the department of motor vehicles office and the county counselor working directly with Wendy Nordwald, the assessor and Julie Schaumberg, the collector, a solution was achieved.
Speaking on behalf of the county commission, we are very thankful that the dispute has been resolved and publicly wanted to thank Jan Olearnick for her assistance.
The biggest lesson to learn from this situation is regardless of the issue it is incumbent on all elected officials to always do what is in the best interest of our citizens and to accomplish that goal we must work together, regardless of our personal feelings.
Warren County Presiding Commissioner