The governing body and center of Wisconsin county government is the County Board of Supervisors, whose members are elected for a two-year term, from districts apportioned according to population. The maximum size of Boards is set-forth by state law, based on county population every census year. Waupaca County Board is divided into districts. A one man, one vote concept.
Each County Board adopts a set of rules by which it conducts its affairs. The Board selects a chairperson, vice chairperson, and highway committee at the organizational meeting in April. The chairperson and an appointed committee select members for other committees.
The County Board operates primarily through the committee system, which handles matters presented to the Board. The Board may or may not follow committee recommendations. Some committees also serve as supervisors of the service departments and agencies in their jurisdiction. Thus, County Boards have a dual role - legislative by making policy decisions through resolutions, ordinances and other actions; and administrative, by supervising county administration through committee work.
The County Board must hold an annual meeting in November, mainly to adopt the annual budget. County government relies on property taxes, state-shared taxes and a variety of state and federal aids to finance county government activities. For some services, such as mental health, state aids reimburse most of the money. Certain county services (such as the Sheriff's Department) are financed mainly, by county general revenues, principally shared taxes and local property taxes.
County Boards and their Personnel Committee have various responsibilities as a major employer within their respective counties. This role as employer is accentuated because many employees are represented by collective bargaining agreements, which are authorized by state law.