Waukesha County’s 21-day recount of the Supreme Court election results cost county taxpayers about $130,000, county officials reported Tuesday.
Waukesha County’s recount took longer than any other county in the state, in part because of the approach taken by the judge hired to run the recount and because more campaign observers were on hand and raised more concerns about ballots raised.
… The largest share of the cost – $47,000 – was for retired circuit Judge Robert Mawdsley, who was hired as temporary chairman of the Board of Canvassers after County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus recused herself.
… Mawdsley was paid $250 an hour – the amount he gets for mediation work – but capped at an eight-hour day. Most days, he worked longer, said Ellen Nowak, chief of staff to County Executive Dan Vrakas, who provided the cost report.
The second-largest cost – $28,500 – covered the 189 tabulators. The majority of them did not claim the daily $50 pay rate established by ordinance, Nowak said. They were also paid 51-cents-per-mile for travel and a $6 meal voucher.
Mawdsley also relied on a contracted court reporter for keeping detailed records of what transpired with every concern or challenge, and with recount tallies. The court reporter and transcript services cost $24,700.
Added Sheriff’s Department security in the county room and for overtime screening at the courthouse entrance cost $14,800.
Elections consultant Barbara Hansen, a retired state elections official who helped direct the recount, was paid $8,500 at the rate of $35 an hour.
Additional cost to the county clerk’s office, for staff overtime and temporary extra help, was $3,700. Building operations and technical support added $2,000.
The $129,200 cost released Tuesday will be slightly higher because the Board of Canvassers still has to meet to review final minutes of the recount, which could take several hours, Nowak said.
Mawdsley said the county was being especially meticulous in its approach to the recount because Waukesha County had something to prove.