Portage County Corporation Counsel

Services & Functions

Civil Actions Authority
Mental and Alcohol Commitments
Chapter 51, Wisconsin Statutes
Guardianships/Protective Placements
Chapters 54 & 55, Wisconsin Statutes
Child Support Enforcement Contempt and Paternity
Chapter 767, Wisconsin Statutes
Zoning Enforcement/Injunctions and Forfeittures
Chapter 59 Wisconsin Statutes
Small Claims/Collections
Chapter 799, Wisconsin Statutes
Termination of Parental Rights Chapter 48, Wisconsin Statutes

However, most do involve liberty interests and consequently are limited to prosecution through this office.

Specific Functions
The Office of the Corporation Counsel was established to act as legal counsel for the County Board of Supervisors, its committees, departments, agencies and boards. Its legal functions vary as greatly as the departments themselves.

Administration
Reviews new policies and proposed changes in existing policies prior to presentation to the County Board. Researches issues as requested by the County Executive, the County Board and County Clerk, reviews contracts, assists in wage and contract negotiations between Portage County, its employees and unions, assists and researches legal issues for the Human Resources Department, researches, reviews and if necessary, prosecutes ethical complaints involving County government, and drafts and prepares documents for County real estate transactions.

Child Support
Represent the Child Support Agency at court hearings for the modification and establishment of child support orders and for enforcement of existing orders. Review court and legal documents prepared by the Child Support Agency. Refers criminal prosecution to the District Attorney. Performs legal research and provides information to the Child Support Agency.

Clerk of Courts
Researches questions that may arise and represents the County at hearings for collection of Guardian ad Litem fees and other monies owed to the County. Health and Human Services Department Reviews and drafts court documents pertaining to three-party petitions and emergency detentions for mental and alcohol commitments. Represents the \ Department and the County at all mental and alcohol commitment proceedings. Reviews and prepares court documents pertaining to guardianship matters. Represents the County and the Department at all guardianship hearings initiated by the Department.

Emergency Management
Reviews contracts from and to vendors. Researches issues as requested by the Emergency Management Department. Serves as Public Information Officer in the Operations Center.

Highway Department
Serves as legal advisor to the County Highway Commissioner and County Highway Committee. Drafts legal documents as required in the performance of their duties. Attends meetings and/or court appearances where the Commissioner or Committee is a party or where the acquisition of lands for state or county highway purposes is concerned.

Public Health
Appears in Court on public health citations and drafts any necessary documents. Assists the Environmental Specialist with questions of abatement and other health code/ordinance violations.

Sheriff’s Department
Researches questions presented by Law Enforcement Committee, Sheriff’s Department and Jail personnel. Reviews contracts and advises Sheriff’s Department.

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)
Serves as advocate in TPR hearings which determine whether parents alleged to having abused and/or neglected their children should have their parental rights terminated. Advise the Department of Health and Human Services on legal issues relating to the abuse and/or neglect of children.

Treasurer/Finance
Researches issues pertaining to tax foreclosures. Assists Treasurer’s office with preparation of tax deeds. Provides advice regarding taxation or fiscal problems affecting the County.

Zoning
Drafts and/or reviews correspondence to individuals and their attorneys regarding ordinance violations. Drafts and reviews complaints and citations issued for violations. Represents the Department at court hearings and drafts documents concerning violations. Attends public hearings and gives guidance to the Planning and Zoning Committee and the Board of Adjustment.

Collections
Initiates collection actions on behalf of Portage County.