Brown County, Wisconsin

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Brown County is one of 72 counties in Wisconsin. Brown County was one of the first counties founded in Wisconsin, along with Crawford County and the now defunct Michilimacknac County. The three were founded in 1818, prior to Wisconsin's statehood. The county is named after Major General Jacob Brown, commanding general of the U.S. Army from 1815-1828. Brown County covers 528.7 square miles and contains 22 lakes. Green Bay is the county seat.[1]

County government

The legislative branch of Brown County is the 26 member board of supervisors. All 26 members represent single member districts and serve concurrent two-year terms elected in the spring of even-numbered years. The Board of Supervisors elects a Chairman and Vice Chairman from its membership.

The executive branch of Brown County is the County Executive. The Executive is elected in the Spring of every other odd-numbered year. The executive appoints department heads with the approval of the County Board.

Brown County has several other elected officials. Unlike the County Executive, these officials are established under the Wisconsin Constitution and are referred to as the constitutional officers. Constitutional Officers are the only partisan elected officials within Brown County Government, as the Executive and County Board are nonpartisan positions.[2]

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Wisconsin county websites
Transparency Grade
Meetings P
Elected Officials P
Administrative Officials P
Permits, zoning P
Audits N
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Contracts P
Lobbying N
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Public records N
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Local taxes
County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 5 years.[3]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 2 years.[4]
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 2 years.[5]
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, email contact form and phone number.[6]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number and email form.[7]
  • Building Permits and Zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[8]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[9]
  • Local Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[10]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[11]

The bad

  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes and agendas are not archived for 3-5 years.
    • A meeting calendar is not provided that notes the times and locations of public meetings.
  • Elected Officials
    • Individual emails are not provided.
  • Administrative Officials
    • Individual emails are not provided.
  • Building Permits and Zoning
    • Permit applications cannot be downloaded on the site.
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is not posted.
    • Audits must be archived for as least three years.
  • Contracts
    • Approved contract statements are not available for vendors above $10,000.
  • Lobbying
    • If the county engaged in lobbying actives or if it's a member of government lobbying associations are not disclosed, nor is the total cost lobbying activities or membership dues for associations available.
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is not identified. Ballotpedia requires a mailing address, phone number and personalized email be listed with this position.

Public records

Brown County scored in the middle of the pack on a public records audit performed by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council in late 2008. "Requests made of the Green Bay Police Department, the town of Ledgeview and a request for Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt's e-mails were fulfilled without any issues. The Green Bay School Board and the Brown County Sheriff's Department fulfilled requests but with some difficulty, according to the report."[12]

See "Audit finds nearly 10% of open records requests denied or ignored" for more.

Public employee salaries

Main article: Brown County employee salaries

External links