At this meeting, Vilas County Circuit Judge Neal A. Nielsen III spent a good deal of time explaining court funding to our board.
I had never met the judge, but I have walked his path as I served 20 years as a judge for the state of Iowa.
Iowa courts are funded exclusively by the state, so I was somewhat surprised that a judge would be addressing our supervisors on funding issues.
As it so happens, in the state of Wisconsin, significant funding for court operations is derived from county tax dollars.
Therein lies one of the reasons Judge Nielsen
addressed the supervisors.
The second reason is far more compelling.
That is the issue of the burden Judge Nielsen carries with him every day as the only judge for Vilas County.
We have a small window of hope to aid Judge Nielsen
obligation to provide justice for all.
Our board of supervisors can support the potential funding of a second judge for Vilas County
by agreeing to defray some relatively minor expenses that would support a state-funded judge and court reporter.
These costs include providing and maintaining facilities for two judges, overhead for the judge and staff, and perhaps up to two new employees to assist in the expansion of justice for our community.
The final decision rests in Madison, but we need to act now, or we will not even be considered.
When people asked me what I do for a living, I would often reply, you never want to see me on the job.
And therein lays the dilemma for Judge Nielsen
is not out to save the world, but he
needs our help now to maximize justice for all of us.