Ever Think of Running for the Marathon County Board?

Written by Brad Karger

Have you ever thought that a seat on the County Board might be something you’d enjoy?

After all, it’s a way you can learn a lot about local issues and trends, meet interesting people, and more importantly, help shape the future of Marathon County.

Counties touch nearly every aspect of your life…

Check out the quick video below about the many roles counties play in major life milestones (births, marriages, first homes, etc.) economic development, public health & safety, recreation, travel, environmental protection, and more!

And while no one likes to pay property taxes, the video below shows you what a bargain County services truly are for the money.

A Little About the County Board

The people of Marathon County are represented by 38 elected Board Supervisors from 38 districts within the County.

County Board map

Members are elected to a 2-year term at the April election held on even-numbered years on a non-partisan basis. The County Board is a legislative body and makes policy decisions through resolutions, ordinances, and other actions.

Our County operates under the Administrator form of governance, with the County Administrator (that’s me!) responsible for day-to-day operations, while 7 Standing Committees review and recommend resolutions and ordinances to the full County Board for ratification:

  1. Extension, Education, & Economic Development Committee
  2. Environmental Resources Committee
  3. Executive Committee
  4. Human Resources, Finance, & Property Committee
  5. Health & Human Services Committee
  6. Infrastructure Committee
  7. Public Safety Committee

Being new on the County Board, you’ll likely be assigned to one of the standing committees, plus another committee. The County Board Chair (presently, Kurt Gibbs) makes committee appointments, and historically the Chair has used member preferences to guide appointments.

County Board Chair Kurt Gibbs

Supervisors are expected to attend 2 County Board meetings per month as scheduled and monthly committee meetings to which they are assigned. It’s a big time commitment, especially for those who live a 45-minute drive from the Marathon County Courthouse in Downtown Wausau. The leadership of the County Board estimates that a minimum of 15 hours per month is necessary to be an effective County Board member.

What Are the Qualifications to Be Elected to the County Board?

The following standards must be met to be considered for election to the Marathon County Board:

  • Minimum of 18 years old at the time of the election
  • Not convicted of a felony (unless pardoned by the Governor or President)
  • Not convicted of a misdemeanor that breeches the public trust (a breach of public trust has not been defined by the Wisconsin Legislature)
  • No County officer or employee is eligible to be a County Board Supervisor
  • A County Supervisor may also be a member of a Town Board, City Common Council, or Village Board of Trustees.

Do County Board Supervisors Get Paid?

Yes. County Board Supervisors do get paid. But nobody does it for the money. Here is how the salaries break down:

County Board Member - Salary breakdown

Okay, Let’s Say I Decide to Run. How Do I Get Started?

Well, your timing is good, because in the month of December, you need to circulate nomination papers (EL-169 with 50 to 200 signatures) in your district. You can get those nomination papers from the Marathon County Clerk’s Office. In fact, the County Clerk, Kim Trueblood, and her staff will help guide you through the process.

County Clerk Kim Trueblood

Nomination papers may be circulated starting on December 1 and must be filed with the County Clerk by 5 p.m. on January 2.

In addition to nomination papers, the following forms can be obtained from the County Clerk and must be completed:

  • ETHCF-1 Campaign Registration Statement — Candidates should file the Campaign Registration Statement as soon as their intent to be a candidate is known, prior to circulating nomination papers and before campaign funds are collected or spent. To be registered as a write-in candidate, you must file a Campaign Registration Statement (ETHCF-1) prior to collecting any money on the campaign.
  • EL-162 Declaration of Candidacy and Memorandum Regarding Felony Convictions
  • ELIS-3 Ballot Access Checklist for County Non-Partisan Candidates

I know that sounds like a lot, but the County Clerk’s Office will make the process as painless as possible and guide you on your way.

*  *  *

Being a member of the County Board isn’t for everybody. But if you…

  • Have a love of learning,
  • Are committed to leaving Marathon County a better place for your children and grandchildren,
  • Have thick enough skin that a little criticism won’t break you emotionally, and
  • Have the time available to attend meetings,

…I invite you to stop by the County Clerk’s Office or call Kim Trueblood at 715-261-1500 to learn more.

Specific duties, as well as other guidelines and expectations, for County Board Members can be found at our website. Or watch County Board meetings online at Wausau Area Access Media, or on YouTube.

County Board Meetings - YouTube - screenshot

If now maybe isn’t the right time, learning more about the commitments and requirements can better prepare you for that time when the stars do align!


Brad Karger - Marathon County AdministratorBrad Karger

Marathon County Administrator

In his Administrator role, Brad Karger leads an organization with 700+ employees and an annual budget of more than $162 million. Brad has been in leadership positions with Marathon County for the past 30 years. He is known statewide for generating innovative ideas and solutions to problems, openness and transparency, and a commitment to community service that extends well beyond the normal workday.  Email Brad Karger.

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