The Koschnick Train Wreck in Jefferson County
Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick wants to take a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court but does he plan to bring the same dissension to Madison that he has fostered in Jefferson? A report in the Captial Times Tuesday reveals a lot about Randy Koschnick. It is based on the comments of his fellow Jefferson County Judge John Ullsvik.
Judge Ullsvik has announced that he will not seek re-election after serving for some 17 years on the bench largely because of Koschnick’s antics and the divisive way that he has managed at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Ullsvik comments as follows:
He has been very divisive to what was otherwise a harmonious courthouse. He’s given special treatment to his staff compared with the rest of the county courthouse staff. He’s had court commissioners do work that the judges always did so he wouldn’t have to do it.
Although Randy Koschnick has been praised by some for the changes that he has made in Jefferson County, the people that work with him every day and have to live under those changes are not singing the same happy song. Certainly the people around him know him best and he has totally lost them. What good is a statistical efficiency when you have lost total control of your courthouse in the process?
Who could blame Koschnick’s Jefferson County critics when he sends around nasty emails gossiping and badmouthing fellow judges? The report goes on to quote the content of some of those emails. When talking about one of his fellow judges he says, ‘”It’s apparent that John is not motivated to make the system work properly.’ He goes on to further berate the judge of 17 years saying, “I also fully expect that when John takes over a criminal case load in January that he will quickly fall behind. His failure is persistent and self-motivated.”
The environment that Koschnick has fostered has become so bad that judges on one side of the courthouse rarely engage with the judges on the other side. Even a judge that describes himself as a friend of Randy Koschnick admits in the story that there is a ‘regrettable problem in the courthouse and he likens it to a marriage gone bad.’ Is this the kind of leadership and temperament that Randy Koschnick wants to bring to our high court? Perhaps he should fix his train wreck in Jefferson County before he decides to start one anywhere else.