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Two Chippewa County board members said Sunday that board chairman Jared Zwiefelhofer should step down as board chairman, after he was convicted last week of three hunting infractions in Burnett County Court.

Board member Steve Gerrish of Lake Hallie sent an email to area media Sunday evening, calling for Zwiefelhofer to step down.

“I don’t think it’s serious enough for him to resign, but he should step down as board chair,” Gerrish said. “I think the board chair should obey the law. It’s all about what is best for the county.”

Zwiefelhofer was reached Sunday night, but he declined to comment.

Gerrish said that if Zwiefelhofer doesn’t step down, the board may decide to vote to remove him, but he hopes it doesn’t come to that. The board will meet 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Chippewa County Courthouse.

Gerrish also noted that Zwiefelhofer — who also is Bloomer police chief — sits on the county’s Legal & Law Enforcement Committee.

“It’s appalling to me that he can be on this committee anymore, as he doesn’t follow the laws of the state of Wisconsin himself,” Gerrish wrote in his letter.

Board member Glen Sikorski of the town of Arthur wrote Zwiefelhofer a letter on Friday, also requesting Zwiefelhofer step down. Zwiefelhofer wrote back, saying he didn’t intend to step down.

“We are too good for this,” Sikorski said Sunday night. “If it had been me, I would have sent in a letter of resignation and walked away. We don’t want to look like buffoons. I think (stepping down) would save him and the county a lot of embarrassment. This is a black eye for Chippewa County.”

The board is slated to vote on an ethics policy on Tuesday, and Sikorski said at the very least, Zwiefelhofer should abstain from voting on the measure.

It is unclear if Bloomer officials will reprimand Zwiefelhofer. After the citation charges were filed, Bloomer city administrator Sandi Frion said that the city’s Police Commission is responsible for handling any discipline of the chief. The Police Commission hasn’t met to discuss any discipline, she added. Frion couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday to see if a meeting will be held now that Zwiefelhofer has been convicted.

Zwiefelhofer pleaded no contest to the three hunting citations on Feb. 5: improperly placing bait, possessing a deer killed without bow on an archer tag, and operating an ATV with a loaded firearm. All three are citations. As a result of the convictions, Zwiefelhofer’s Department of Natural Resources privileges are suspended for two years and he must pay $878 in fines and court costs.

The incident occurred Nov. 19, court records show. The Burnett County district attorney’s office was contacted after the citations were filed, but officials there didn’t have an incident report.

Zwiefelhofer was elected to the county board in 2010 when he defeated incumbent Duane Boettcher; he was elected as county board chairman last April. He was named as police chief in August 2011. He started with the department as a reserve in 1992.

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(1) comment

Merlin

It's one thing to have a record and be elected, it's entirely another to get a record while serving. He needs to resign and doesn't deserve to stay on the board.

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