Kathy Nickolaus, the county clerk at the center of the state Supreme Court election controversy and the focus of an ongoing state elections investigation, has been described by colleagues and acquaintances as headstrong and insular, hardworking and independent.
She came to local public office, where constituents are the boss, from a staff job at the state Capitol, where partisan politics and loyalty to the party caucus fomented team warfare.
“I dont think shes ever gotten past that,” said Pam Reeves, the Republican elected county treasurer two years before Nickolaus arrival at the courthouse. “From the beginning she put up walls: Youre not going to tell me what to do. Then she put up more walls.”
Co-workers say her go-it-alone isolation more than anything is whats gotten her into the current mess, evident now by the tedious ballot recount still under way in the county Administration Center cafeteria, days after every other county has finished its job. And in a high-income, Republican-dominant county where officials tout its financial and service superiority, they say Nickolaus failings this election have given the county a black eye under national glare.
Since her 2002 election, when a Republican primary challenge was her only contest, Nickolaus – who in addition to her full-time clerk job operates a bait shop and has moonlighted as a bartender – has been re-elected three times without opposition. Not only did she reject calls to resign because of the latest snafu, but she also says she intends to run again in November 2012.
Nickolaus, 51, has stumbled a few times since taking office in her duties as the countys chief election administrator, but none as badly as after the April election. Nickolaus biggest mistake – one that would later find her telling a clerk that shed had the worst day of her life – was in releasing a final but unofficial election-night vote count that didnt include Brookfields 14,315 votes.
Full Article: Colleagues see Nickolaus as insular, hardworking – JSOnline.