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Mallison resigns in protest over lack of staffing

Editor’s Note: the Metro Wire originally broke this story at 11:56 a.m. on Nov. 14. 

By Brandi Makuski

Portage Co. Treasurer Tom Mallison has resigned from his post effective Nov. 26.

Mallison notified County Executive Chris Holman in writing Wednesday morning. Holman, in turn, notified departments heads, as well as municipal clerks and treasurers across the county, via email at 11:38 a.m.

“This will be a considerable challenge for everyone given that tax season is upon us, but I’m confident that we will successfully navigate the next few months and beyond,” Holman’s email read in part.

Mallison also submitted his letter to the Portage Co. Sheriff Mike Lukas, a requirement of elected county officials under state statute.

Holman said county officials could appoint an interim clerk during an Executive/Operations Committee meeting Friday morning, a decision which would be given final approval at next Tuesday’s county board meeting.

County Treasurer Tom Mallison. (Courtesy Tom Mallison)

“We need to make sure business continues operating as normal as possible,” Holman said via phone on Wednesday.

When asked if Mallison offered a reason for resigning, Holman said it directly involved a lack of staffing in the treasurer’s office.

“It’s an issue he’s raised before,” Holman said.

Recently, Mallison voiced concern at the county’s October finance committee meeting, saying paperwork related to the Nov. 6 referendum, end of year property tax payments, and a new software system all hit his dept. simultaneously and was more work than his staff could reasonably handle.

“He compared the county to the Stevens Point Treasurer’s Office, and Wood County’s, both of which, I guess, have [sic] five full-time employees,” Holman said. “[Mallison] has three full-time and a quarter-time finance person in his office.”

In his resignation letter, Mallison said he’s asked for additional staffing for much of the two years he has served in the position.

“I hope by stepping aside, a real conversation happens regarding how to staff the treasure’s office moving forward,” his letter read in part.

Holman said some of the staffing shortage in Mallison’s office was caused by an undisclosed number of employees on medical leave but did not provide details. He added a good long-term fix for the county would be to bring in temporary employees during tax season, but added that was a decision for the county board.

“Due to this work environment, I have started to [have] issues with my health and this is a price my family and I are no longer willing to pay,” Mallison wrote in his letter.

Mallison has served in the position since being elected in April 2016, replacing former Treasurer Stephanie Stokes. Prior to that, Mallison served as County Board Supervisor for Ward 1.

*This story is ongoing. Check back for updates.