Since taking a seat on the Dane County Board of Supervisors in April, Supervisor Wyndham Manning, District 5, may not be staying as connected with his student district as he once seemed to be.
Manning, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin in May, co-sponsored the equal benefits ordinance, smoke free initiative and fair housing ordinance, and has supported upgrades to the 911 Center.
But he has missed 11 out of the 22 documented committee meetings he should attend as a supervisor, according to minutes from the meetings recorded on the board’s website.
Since April, Manning failed to attend five of the six university extension committee meetings; was present at 10, absent for two and excused for two of the agriculture, conservation and environment documented committee meetings; and excused for two and had an unknown presence at the third of three of the documented City Council Liaison Committee meetings.
Manning, however, attended 18 of the 19 County Board meetings since April and was excused for the one he missed.
Despite remaining vocal on County Board, Manning’s website shows he has not continued County Board updates on his website since the beginning of May.
“This is my new year’s resolution,” Manning said in an e-mail to The Badger Herald. “I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to simply reflect and write. … I’ve let it be pushed to the periphery for so long that now I have so much to write about that it seems like a burden rather than a release.”
Supervisor Carousel Andrea Bayrd, District 8, said Manning has been a great supervisor that speaks up for progressive issues.
Bayrd said the County Board is different from City Council in the sense that many county issues deal do not directly affect students downtown.
“The issues we work on at the county level are more systematic and broad than those in front of the city, so I think there is certainly some disconnect in that ambiguity,” Manning said.
Manning said he has not yet held any office hours but plans to in the future and will post them on his website next semester.
“I wanted to hold them in coordination with my counterpart on the Madison Common Council so that we would have face time to work and deal with issues collaboratively, but that never panned out,” Manning said.
Manning’s current counterpart, Ald. Eli Judge, District 8, said he recalled an e-mail that mentioned the idea of joint alder/supervisor hours, but nothing ever came of it.
“Holding these hours is not hard, but one thing that is difficult is trying to work it around an academic and work schedule,” Judge said, adding his hours have been successful, with about two people showing up per week on average.
Committed to positive environmental initiatives, Manning said he worked on a number of ordinances aimed at protecting Dane County’s environment.
“I fought to secure $13 million to begin to make serious efforts to clean our lakes and watersheds, including $1.3 million in funding to begin to develop community manure digesters,” Manning said.
Future goals Manning said he has are focused on transportation, pushing the passage of Regional Transit Authority projects and making airline travel safe and easy at the Dane County Regional Airport.
When asked about how he deals with criticism, Manning said he is working on becoming more proactive.
“I do appreciate the criticism, and am continually humbled by this position and the evolution of issues it brings up,” Manning said. “I will do whatever I can to ensure that people do not feel alienated by county politics and will increase my outreach in more productive ways so anyone who wants to be involved is comfortable with the issues and my positions on them.”