NEWS BLOG (WSAU) We have no way of knowing the exact hours that Marathon County sheriff Randy Hoenish has worked this year. He admits it’s not many. He’s been spending time with his soon-to-be-sentenced wife while she fights prescription drug addition. Hoenish says it’s more than 2-hours for the entire year, which the newspaper reported earlier this week.
An aside: It’s a legitimate news story to report on how much time an elected official is or isn’t spending on-the-job. But the Wausau Daily Herald’s tactics, on which they base their story, are transparently shoddy. Their reporting is based on a freedom of information request for the electronic swipe card records in-to and out-of the law enforcement part of the county courthouse. Those records do not accurately reflect how many hours someone was on the premises. We have electronic swipe cards at the WSAU office. Sometimes a co-worker holds the door open for me, so I don’t have to use my card. Sometimes I enter the building the same time someone else is exiting; again my card wouldn’t be used. Sometimes, I, like the sheriff, enter through a different doorway.
The underlying question is whether the sheriff should be forced out of his job for skimping on his hours. How might this issue play out? Don’t look to the Marathon County Board of Supervisors. They have no jurisdiction; the most they could do is pass a non-binding resolution. The sheriff is an elected officer just like they are. The voters – not board members – will decide the sheriff’s future.
There could be a recall, but that would be a mess. It’s not certain if someone would step forward to run against a sitting sheriff. If the challenger is a deputy or a staff member, their work environment could be miserable until the next election. The most likely outcome is the next Election Day the voters choose someone else to serve.