This April I was re-elected to another two-year term on the Dane County Board. I am grateful to the voters of Waunakee and Westport. You put your trust in me to continue representing you and your interests on the county board. Thank you to those who voted by mail, and to those who risked your own safety to go out and vote in person on election day. Your voice matters, your opinion matters, and your vote matters.

I also want to thank my election opponent, Dan Kieta, who brought good ideas to the campaign and who gave the voters a choice by running for the seat. Democracy works best when voters can pick between multiple candidates.

The next county board term is going to be difficult financially. County sales tax revenues are projected to substantially decrease due to the COVID-19 crisis, which means a tighter county budget in the months to come. In addition, expenses have unexpectedly increased. For example, in order to help combat the spread of COVID-19, the county is paying for emergency temporary housing in hotel rooms for at-risk homeless people. They would otherwise be on the streets or in crowded homeless shelters, where they would be risking their own health and potentially spreading the virus to others.

The county does have a “rainy day fund” of $43 million to help buffer the impact of this crisis. In addition, the county government has imposed a hiring freeze on filling vacant positions for most county government jobs. Nevertheless, the combination of reduced revenue and increased expenses will create a challenging budget situation for the county government.

There will be hard days and weeks and months ahead. I ask for your patience and understanding as we all work together to find solutions to these problems. As always, I can be reached at 608 358-7213 or by email at

Tim Kiefer
Dane County Board, District 25

Profession: Attorney

Education: Bachelor of arts degree in history from UW-Madison, 1993; JD (law degree) from Harvard, 1998

Political experience: Served on the Dane County Board since 2012

Other public service:
Dane County Assistant District Attorney, 2007-2011, previously served on the executive boards of the Dane County Democratic Party and the Dane County Bar Association

Why are you the best candidate for the district?
In this time of crisis caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus, we need experienced leadership on the Dane County Board. I have served on the county board for the past eight years. Issues I have supported on county board include better highway maintenance and snowplowing, upgrading Schumacher Farm County Park, and protecting the environment. In addition to my work on county board, I practice law at Kiefer Law Office. I am a homeowner in the village of Waunakee.

What is the greatest challenge facing the district and if elected, how would you address it?
My top priority right now is to do everything the county government can do to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus. After the first COVID-19 patient in Dane County was quarantined, the county board was briefed on the situation by the director of the county’s Public Health Department. As the pandemic grew, the county board approved a declaration of emergency and established procedures for holding county board meetings remotely using GoToMeeting. In the longer term, the county government will face budget challenges if sales tax revenue dramatically declines as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown.

In what area do you think the county could improve?
Right now, I am focused on COVID-19, but after we overcome this immediate crisis we will have to return to work on other issues. There are at least four areas where the county could improve: maintaining and improving our road network to accommodate Dane County’s growing population; eliminating racial disparities in our criminal justice system; removing algae-causing phosphorus pollution from our lakes; and preventing flooding such as we experienced in August 2018.

Wisconsin State Journal Editorial  "Six Dane County Supervisors Say 'No' to 33% Pay Raise" 
Nov. 29, 2016

Credit Dane County Executive Joe Parisi for vetoing his own pay raise last week.

Unfortunately, he failed to veto a 33 percent increase in compensation for the giant Dane County Board.

Just six supervisors voted “no” on what will be a $2,700 raise, to $10,900 annually, over three years. Those who showed some fiscal responsibility were Sups. Pat Downing of Blanchardville, Ronn Ferrell of Madison, Tim Kiefer of Waunakee, Dave Ripp of Waunakee, Mike Willett of Verona and Danielle Williams of Cottage Grove.

Their constituents should applaud them.

A modest raise might have been in order, given that the board hasn’t had an increase since the 2008 recession. But they don’t deserve a hike of this magnitude — especially given the County Board’s enormous size. With 37 members, the board is one of the biggest in the nation. And its unwieldy size dilutes its profile and influence.

Parisi expressed “serious concerns” about pay raises for county politicians, given uncertain state and federal funding, which could lead to cuts in services. Besides a 33 percent boost for supervisors, the board chairperson will get a 40 percent increase, from $37,000 now to $51,500 by 2020.

“The last thing the county’s elected officials should be doing right now is giving themselves a raise,” Parisi said.

The county executive nixed a proposed 8 percent increase in his annual salary of $134,000. He said he didn’t reject the board’s 33 percent increase because supervisors approved it with a veto-proof majority of 26 votes. A two-thirds vote of 25 or more board members is enough to overturn a veto.

We get Parisi’s point. But public pressure could have convinced some supervisors to rethink their positions. At $10,900, Dane County supervisors will earn more than their peers in Waukesha and Brown counties, which operate with smaller boards.

The total annual cost of the supervisor raises — about $112,000 — is tiny compared to the larger county budget. Yet that cost is on top of board salaries now totaling more than $330,000 a year.

Many supervisors work hard for their constituents. But the post is supposed to be about public service, not the money.

A 33 percent raise is excessive. More than six supervisors should have understood that.

Website Builder