My family, Ken and Ruth Schwartz, established roots in West Jacksonport in 1968. They lived as good Door County citizens, supporting good organizations with both time and money.
Over 44 years, I learned to love the County of Door as does my husband Mike Serpe. In good faith, he threw his heart and soul into trying to make this county a better place to live on behalf of all of you.
The process by which Mike was removed from his position as Door County Administrator is unconscionable. Even though he served, by state statute at the pleasure of the county board, they could relieve him of his duty for no apparent reason, there remains the issue of decency, fairness and justice.
The fact that the county insisted the circumstances of the "investigation" be completely silent was veiled behind the threat that the accusers and accused needed to be protected. It protected the Chief Financial Officer and the Human Resource Director, the only two documented complainants. The silence cast an aura of suspicion around Mike as if he were a common criminal.
I have been a business woman for 37 years, most of my tenure as a Chief Executive Officer. I have had to deal with more personnel issues during those years than all of the county board has collectively. The fact is that the process by which he was to receive a fair hearing was set up for failure.
I tell you this because when you vote for your county board supervisor you need to do it carefully and thoughtfully.
Determine if the individual on the ballot has the qualifications and intellect to hold public office and the character to make decisions about people's lives.
Do you see the incumbent or challenger at any charity events? Benevolence is a good quality that makes people humane.
Are those individuals members of non-profit organizations doing good works for Door County. Be sure they have the desire to give back, not just collect their check.
Make sure that the potential office holder is not a raving, lunatic, partisan politician. The office of county board supervisor is non partisan and that requires the ability to process information with an open mind and make decisions in your best interest regardless of your party affiliation.
If you want to vote for an incumbent, talk to county department heads. Make sure that they have not been threatened by that incumbent because the employee was not catering to his/her special interest.
Cast your vote for someone with an open mind and a global perspective. At least you will get a chance at fair decisions.
What I have learned through this debacle is that the county board and 2 bad apple department heads do not make Door County the wonderful place it is. Because we have made wonderful, kind, intellectual friends, we would never consider leaving.
Those of you who really know me, realize the I am definitely not a "stand by your man" woman. If Mike deserved this, he would be on his own. He has nothing to be ashamed of. The county board could have nipped this in the bud civilly. Instead they ran from a threat to sue by one or both of the accusers.
You will continue to see us at charity events. We will continue to support the non-profit organizations that do the good work in Door County. And, we will support all the great causes intended to make Door County a better place.
Thanks to all of you who tried to make a difference and sent letters in support of Mike.
And for you skeptics, Mike did not write this letter. He will read this when you do. It is my gift of support.
Debra Hertzberg, wife of Mike Serpe