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County Executive - Thomas NelsonThe mission of the Office of the County Executive is to provide administrative leadership, supervision and direction for all county operating departments and programs; to exercise administrative control of the county budget; to participate in the county legislative process and to serve as the focal point for the dissemination of information regarding county affairs.

Thomas M. Nelson, County Executive


The position of county executive is required in Milwaukee County and is optional in all other Wisconsin counties. The county executive is elected to a four-year term. Since it is a non-partisan office -- that is, the candidates do not run under any party label -- the election is held in the Spring.

The duties and powers of the county executive are detailed in Chapter 59 of the Wisconsin State Statutes.

The county executive is the chief executive officer of the county, much like the governor and the president are the chief executive officers of the state and federal governments respectively. The county executive's duties and powers include:

Coordinating and directing the administrative and management functions of the county government;
Appointing and supervising county department heads; and
Appointing the members of boards and commissions.
In Outagamie County, there are 36 agencies, departments and offices headed by various elected or appointed officials.

The county executive appoints 15 department heads whose appointments are confirmed by the county board of supervisors.

There are 20 boards and commissions to which the county executive appoints members.

Section 59.17(5) of the Statutes requires the county executive to, "...annually, and otherwise as may be necessary, communicate to the board the condition of the county, and shall recommend such matters to the board for its consideration as he or she considers expedient. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, he or she shall be responsible for the submission of the annual budget to the board and may exercise the power to veto any increases or decreases in the budget..."

In other words, the county executive is required to submit to the county board of supervisors an annual state-of-the-county message, recommendations regarding issues of concern, and a proposed annual budget.

As referred to earlier, the administrative and management duties of the county executive are similar to those of the governor and president.

A typical day for the county executive will include meetings with his appointed department heads (cabinet members), representatives of various community groups, and individual members of the general public. The county executive is invited to attend and speak at service clubs, church and school groups, scouting events and more.

The county executive spends time each day communicating with federal and state legislators, local community leaders, and county board members, in addition to correspondence with concerned citizens.

Appointed Department Heads

Airport Director
Corporation Counsel
Facilities Engineer
Finance Director
Health Center Administrator
Health and Human Services Director
Highway Commissioner
Human Resources Director
Management Information Services Director
Parks Director
Planning Director
Solid Waste Director
University of Wisconsin-Extension Department Head
Veterans Service Officer
Zoning Administrator

Appointed Boards and Commissions
(In whole, or in part)

Black Otter Lake Rehabilitation District
Community Actions Program Services, Inc. (CAP) Board of Directors
East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
Fox Cities Community Clinic Board of Directors
Fox Valley Workforce Development Board
Heart of the Valley Metropolitan Sewerage Commission
Outagamie County Administrative Review Appeals Boards
Outagamie County Health and Human Services Board
Outagamie County Health Center Board of Trustees
Outagamie County Housing Authority
Outagamie County Land Conservation Committee
Outagamie County Land Information Committee
Outagamie County Local Emergency Planning Committee
Outagamie County Specialized Transportation Planning & Policy Committee
Outagamie County Traffic Safety Commission
Outagamie County Veterans Service Commission
Outagamie County Zoning Ordinance Board of Adjustment
Outagamie Waupaca Federated Library System Board
Tri-County Recreation Association Board of Directors
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley Board of Trustees

Executive Appointment Application

Last updated: 2/11/2013 8:49:18 AM