This letter is being written to address the Door County Administrator being placed on administrative leave.
I have known Mr. Serpe for many years. In this time I have come know Michael from both a personal and professional perspective. I am an area eye doctor and also serve as an elected official on the local county board of supervisors.
Michael Serpe has done well in whatever capacity his career has asked of him. Well reasoned and prepared are two immediate attributes that come to mind. You might not always agree with Mr. Serpe. Politics are like that. You may disagree with Mr. Serpes management style at times. That is the nature of being a leader. The buck has to stop somewhere.
In the 20 + years that I have known Michael Serpe, I offer the following observations:
1) Mr. Serpe without exception, has ALWAYS worked, and works currently, in the best interest of the county for which he serves. This has been demonstrated year in, and year out. Remember, county administrators are not paid by the hour. Evenings and weekends are common. 50+ hour weeks are a part of the job. A lot of this job is methodical. Planning and organizing. Seeing the project through to completion. Mr. Serpe has done a good job of this.
On the other hand, what about crisis management?
There was a catastrophic propane explosion in the county some years back. It was handled appropriately. Mr.Serpe was onsite promptly. The governor himself was there within 48 hours.
This record speaks for itself.
2) If Mr. Serpes' management style had to summed up in one word, it would be 'upfront.'
Employees and colleagues always know what is on Michaels' mind. What you see is what you get. None of the different stories, to different people business. No backbiting or hidden agendas here. Just even handed, consistent leadership. You might not like the outcome, but it is always well reasoned. Always attempting to be fair.
We live in some tough economic times. There is some light at the end of the tunnel. Things may get worse though, before they get better. Look at your real estate sales, foreclosures etc.
What is a County Administrators primary function? Job 1 is financial. Someone has to keep the house in order. Someone has to formulate(with the help of administration) the Door county annual budget. Someone has to present this budget. Someone has to stand behind the budget and see it through. This is the job of your County Administrator. By all accounts Mr. Serpe has done a competent job. This is what you hired him for.
In these tough times individuals may take exception to the way that the county policies and directives affect them. Individuals may not like the outcome. These individuals have a right to, and will be heard. What can be fixed, will be fixed. The overriding concern here is: What is best for the County ?
At the end of the day, ask yourself the following question: Has Mr. Serpe over the course of the past 6 years done the job you hired him to do?
Dr. William R. Grady
Kenosha County Supervisor District 1
Vice-Chairman Public Works Committee