Spring Election 2016: County supervisor District 20 candidates Q&A


Map of county supervisor Dist. 20. (Click for a larger view)

Voters in county board District 20 will be able to cast a ballot in a contested county supervisor race on April 5.

The 20th District includes Paddock Lake and part of Salem (see map above).

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate, by email or by mail.

Here is their biographical information, followed by their question responses:

John K. Poole — Age: 68. Education: BS in Accounting. Occupation: County Board Supervisor. Previous elected or governmental experience:
Elected in 2014 to Kenosha County Board.

Michael Underhill ( Mike ) — Age:58. Education: Gateway Tech College Electrician and Commercial Drivers License. Occupation:Retired Journeyman Electrician, Commercial Truck Driver Part-time. Previous elected or governmental experience: 2010 until 2014 in the position I’m running for County Board Supervisor Dist. 20 which was Dist. 23 until the down sizing of the board.

1.) Why are you a better choice for county supervisor than your opponent?

Poole — My opponent opposed the zero increase budget recommendation for 2013. He also did not show up for the budget vote that year, which is one of the most important votes a County Supervisor makes all year. He missed 40% of the county board meetings in the last part of 2013. My opponent was basically a rubber stamp for the administration. I actually review the budget and make informed choices. Since I have an accounting degree, I can read a budget. I studied the last 2 budgets in detail and attended several Finance Committee meetings, along with my own committee budget hearings. I along with other supervisors suggested changes to the budget that would change county fringe benefits.

Underhill — I am the better choice for County Board Supervisor because I have supported the routine paving of our county roads, supported Sheriff David Beth’s budgets for public safety and voted for improvements at Old Settler’s Park, Fox River Park and Silver Lake Park. My opponent voted no on ALL of these county issues TWICE, and I believe he is not representing District 20 well by always voting no. I was especially grateful to our Sheriff’s department for their work on drug enforcement and the handling of the Obregon situation.

2.) What will be your top priorities if elected?

Poole — One of my priorities would be to adjust the health insurance contribution for county employees to be closer to private businesses. Over half of county employees pay only 1, 2 or 3% per year for their health coverage. Most private sector employees pay close to 25% for their health coverage. County employees received an 8-10% wage and compensation adjustment last year, but the health insurance deduction did not change. My plan would be to add 15% to the 1, 2, or 3% they now pay. If we had done that last year, the county would have saved $1.8 Million, and the tax levy would not have increased. We would even have had extra funds for the Sheriff to hire extra jailers and Sergeants to keep us safe.

Underhill — My priorities as a County Board Supervisor have been and will continue to be to make Kenosha County government more efficient as I look for better return on investments. I will continue to fight to stop waste, fraud and abuse in each of our programs. As with my support of the Salem industrial park, I will continue to work to enhance economic development and improve our infrastructure which, in turn, leads to job creation. Additionally, I will continue to work on cost effective means to support events such as Oktoberfest in Old Settlers Park which enhances our good quality of life.



  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    Ever hear that old saying….”Figures Lie and Liars Figure” or something to that effect? Mr. Poole cites county employees “only” paying 1, 2, or 3% of their health insurance premiums, as opposed to close to “25% in the private sector”.
    Of course, he neglected to add in the deductible costs that county employees pay. As for those 8 to 10% “wage and compensation adjustments” he cites, that was for a TINY number of employees whose job descriptions & classifications were “restructured” after a STUDY was undertaken that showed they were underpaid. After the devestating effects that Act 10 has had on public employees, their families, and their pocketbooks, Tea Party zealots like MR. Poole CONTINUE to try and “balance the budget” on the backs of those hard workers. For an accountant, he shows a pretty distinct lake of the county budgeting process. If he took the ENTIRE $1.8 million that he projects he will save by taking it from the employees wallets, just how many “jailers and Sergeants” does he really think he could hire to “keep us safe”. I’m guessing Sheriff Beth might object to a 15% HIKE in his health insurance costs, as well as that of his deputies and employees. Mr. Poole, better go back to the drawing board. You did not address such things as our dilapitated roads, mental health care providers, county infrastructure, any of the “normal” costs associated with running a county this size. Just “tap the employees wallets”. AGAIN

  2. Look out says:

    Mr Poole meet silver lakes finest… berny! He will bull and badger you on here all day long if your not in his select group. Better watch out next he will have Kenosha county trying to dissolve and become part of Racine County or better yet Lake County! All the time he’ll be humming his theme song “I want to ride a zamboni”

  3. Poor Bernard,, says:

    Public employees are now paying less than half of what the average worker pays for their benefits. Yet Bernard still is crying about it? Funny how Bernard flip-flops depending on how the issue helps him or his family. Maybe time to get another job and quit spending so much time gossiping at the gas station in the mornings????

  4. Matt says:

    Just another reason why unions need to remain out of the public sector.

  5. West of 45 Citizen says:

    If Mr Punsley would get to know the real character of the Challenger to John Poole, he’d realize that J Poole is by far, hands down, the better candidate! We do not need union thugs on the county board!

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    Mr. Poole is using some “creative financing”…the old “smoke and mirrors” trick.
    He proposes “dipping” into employees pockets for $1.8 million, and the “tax levy will not increase”. Is he going to give that $1.8 million back to you? No, he proposes using those “savings” to hire “extra jailers and Sergeants to keep us safe”! As little old Clara used to say as she lifted up the bun on her small hamburger “Where’s the beef”! For all those public employee bashers out there, while you always try to compare public employees with the private sector, you always CONVENIENTLY leave out any “fringe benefits” that private employees might enjoy that public employees do not. The next blizzard our snow plow drivers are out battling the elements at 3 am trying to keep our roads clear, or patching potholes when it’s 90 degrees out, or our cops and firefighters are putting their lives on the line, or you are enjoying a nice family picnic at a county park or golfing with your buddies on a county golf course, ask yourself: Why do I have so much disdain for these people. And then take another sip of your “tea”.

  7. Bernard Punsley says:

    @West of 45 Citizen: Ummm….with Mr. Poole aligning his philosophies with those of the likes of Trump, Cruz, Kasich, Walker, Bradley(the hateful one) et al,
    small wonder why that “pendulum is starting to swing back”. Folks have had enough of the “bait and switch” that Walker has perpetrated on this state(have you seen his survey results lately?) As an accountant, perhaps Mr. Poole could try and decipher what those unfavorable numbers mean for his party. I did not realize that his opponent was a “union thug”. All the more reason my vote will be going to Mike Underhill, a “workingman’s county supervisor”!

  8. Very interesting says:

    Well mr berny if your vote is for Underhill why do you take such an interest in silver lake politics? It appears that silver lake is not in the 20th district according to the map above.

  9. Brian Filiatreault says:

    District 20 Taxpayers:

    John Poole supports commercial business development which helps reduce the tax burden on Salem and Paddock Lake homeowners. I can’t remember the last town, village, county or public service meeting that I was at that John didn’t attend. He is very concerned about events transpiring in these communities and makes sure he hears the issues first hand.

    Supervisor Poole supports Smart Government Growth and low taxes so that citizens of our community can afford to live here instead of being pushed out of their homes like the residents of northern Illinois communities have been. Some of us like rural views without unbearable property taxes. Our community should support Smart Growth and support John Poole who we can count on to carefully examine county proposals and budgets and act in the best interests of District 20. He voted AGAINST a budget giving himself and other supervisors a raise and FOR higher county employee healthcare contributions. I feel that our county employees are very important. We want to retain our good employees and I want them to have fair wages and healthcare benefits. I’m sure that John has assessed their current healthcare plan and found the contributions, benefits and deductibles to at least match those of the private sector.

    Personally, I was impressed with John’s involvement in the ATC process. He fought to the bitter end to do what was best for our community regarding the placement of 138 KV power lines through his district. Even knowing that powers higher up than he would ultimately decide what they felt was best for us, John was personally involved to an extent that far exceeded the involvement of anyone else at the county level. I realize that people are busy, but John MADE THE TIME to work side-by-side with his constituents. I was at every meeting that I was allowed to attend and NEVER saw his opponent.

    I find Kenosha County a wonderful place to live and John Poole has done a great job of being financially responsible while being very supportive of the “needs” of the community vs. all of the “wants”. Lately, it seems I’ve been doing a lot of work for people who have escaped Illinois due to their tax rates. Lucky for us, they have moved up here. Hopefully, we have learned from Illinois’ mistakes.

    Brian Filiatreault
    Salem, WI

  • Follow us on

  • Archives