Oct. 4, 2018 – Washington Co., WI – Early on in my life, my parents taught me the importance of giving back to your community. Whether it was delivering meals on wheels with my dad, mowing the lawn or shoveling the sidewalk of an older neighbor, helping with a handicapped Boy Scout troop or going on mission trips to Mexico to assist with building homes, I have looked for ways to give back and serve those less fortunate.
That sense of giving back has been carried through to my adult life. For 28 years I have honorably served this country.
I have sacrificed the comforts of home and modern life to serve in other countries. I have sacrificed time with friends and family for training and deployments.
Additionally, I have volunteered my time as a Firefighter and EMT with Campbellsport Volunteer Fire Department and now as a Firefighter with Boltonville Fire Department.
As my military career winded down and I began to seriously contemplate retirement, I looked for a new way to serve my community. After serious contemplation and discussions with my family, I decided to run for County Board Supervisor.
I knocked on doors and got to meet many of my neighbors that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the election but it was a blessing in disguise as my hero, my Dad, passed away from cancer the day before the election and I needed the time to deal with the loss.
I was thrilled when I learned that the County Board Supervisor position for District 11 was open and even more thrilled when I was appointed to that position in August.
I am devastated that I am now forced, under duress, to resign from my position as Washington County Board Supervisor for District 11. Over the past few weeks, I have been subjected to harassing calls and threats to resign or else… Why am I being forced to resign?
NOT because I have done anything wrong or committed any ethics violation but, rather, because my mentally ill daughter is receiving services from Washington County.
Therefore, with a heavy heart, I submit this letter as my resignation from my position as Washington County Board Supervisor for District 11.
Two emails from earlier in the day.
From: William Blanchard Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Subject: Fwd: Resignation Announcement
Having submitted my resignation, I will address this as a private citizen of Washington County. I have stated before that I am willing to discuss the issue openly and honestly with anyone interested. In a nutshell, I was Kavanaugh’d. I have not done anything wrong, nor have I, unlike Kavanaugh, been accused of doing anything wrong or unethical. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to reach out to me.
I would like to notify you that I will be submitting ethics complaints against Chairman Kriefall and Administrator Schoemann. On a phone conversation they suggested (by suggested I mean pushed, forced, threatened) that I resign and then lie to my constituents and tell them that I have family issues and don’t have time to fulfill my County Board requirements. I replied by stating that the Air Force has three core values: Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in all we do. While those may be a punchline to some, those are the values by which I try to live my life. I will be open and honest with my constituents. At that point they tried to backpedal but the unethical suggestion had already knowingly been made.
Again, thank you for making me feel welcome and I wish I would have had the opportunity to get to know each of you better.
Washington County Citizen
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Joshua Schoemann <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 9:16 PM
Subject: Resignation Announcement
To: Sent to all County Board Supervisors.
I have received multiple communications from several Supervisors about the email you received from Supervisor Blanchard today announcing his intent to resign as a County Board Supervisor. As with all Board communication I highly advise you to refrain from any discussion amongst yourselves regarding this matter, including any ‘Reply’ or ‘Reply All’ to the original email from Supervisor Blanchard. I only give this advice as the matter may relate to the Open Meetings Law, as it may or may not be discussed by the County Board and as it has been considered by the Ethics Committee.
Please be advised this matter is of a sensitive nature, and thus requires the County’s strictest diligence. While Supervisor Blanchard is certainly allowed to share, as he did, any and all detail he feels appropriate, the County must follow all legal protocols within the ethics realm, as well as within the realm of treating clients and navigating through the court system with clients (if there were to be any).
Please know that Chairman Kriefall, Attorney Stern and I have worked hard to follow these protocols to date, including the process for seeking an ethics opinion via County Code. In the coming days we will work through further protocols to ensure compliance, while informing the Board as legally allowed.
I thank you for your patience, understanding and for not politicizing this 100% non – political matter.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Calls have been placed to all parties involved.
From: William Blanchard <[email protected]>
Date: October 3, 2018 at 2:09:59 PM CDT
Subject: Resignation Announcement
Greetings fellow County Board Supervisors,
I am writing to you today to notify you that I will be, under duress, submitting a letter of resignation tomorrow as District 11 County Board Supervisor. I will be resigning because my mentally ill daughter is receiving services through Washington County Social Services (tentatively through January 2019). Due to my place on the County Board, her services would have to be outsourced to another county and would cause Washington County to incur additional costs of between $4,000 & $20,000. I would have been willing to forego my salary to cover the additional expenses but wasn’t given that opportunity.
I would like to highlight that there are currently no ethics breaches or perceptions of breaches. The County Attorney has even written that he does not allege that I “am in breach of the Code of Ethics… or that you are not an ethical person or a man of integrity”.
Under duress, I was forced to request a determination from the Ethics Board which found “not based on any wrongdoing or ethical violation” that there was a conflict of interest and recommended that I resign from the County Board.
I would like to state for the record that this sets a dangerous precedent as any County Board Supervisor could have a conflict of interest and be forced to resign if any member of his or her family, including extended family receives any service from the county, including but not limited to:
– Long-term care assessment
– Short-term care coordination
– Access to benefits specialists
– Dementia care-giver support
– Senior Dining and home delivered meals
– Child support
– Victim/Witness support services
– Veterans Services
I am truly dismayed and disheartened at the treatment I have received throughout this process. Rather than look for, or accept, alternative solutions, I have been coerced, threatened and intimidated into this course of action.
I have enjoyed getting to meet all of you and wish you the best in your future endeavors.