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Ray Arbet’s History of Poor Management and Leadership: Opinion

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Ray Arbet – Former Public Works Director, Kenosha County (D)

In a move that has puzzled residents of Wheatland, Salem Lakes, and Randall, Ray Arbet, former Kenosha County Public Works Director, is running for County Board Supervisor District 22. 

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Arbet retired from his position as Public Works Director shortly after Samantha Kerkman won her bid for County Executive in 2022. It is well-known that Arbet didn’t want to work with Kerkman — he didn’t even acknowledge her presence the first time he saw her after her victory. Therefore, Arbet’s decision to enter the political arena and run for County Board Supervisor is surprising to many. 

Arbet’s bid for political office also comes amidst a backdrop of criticism surrounding his tenure as the Public Works Director, raising questions about his appropriateness for a leadership position. His history of controversial decisions as Public Works Director showcases his unsuitability for elected office.

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Invasive ATC Transmission Line Routes Oversight

Arbet’s oversight of the placement of high-power transmission lines, which critics argue damaged neighborhoods, endangered school zones, and reduced property values, was highly controversial. Despite objections from local governments and area schools, Arbet pushed forward with the placement of these lines through residential areas, rather than opting for industrial property or vacant fields. That decision raised serious concerns about the potential risks posed to residents, particularly children attending schools along the route.

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The transmission lines, part of the American Transmission Company (ATC) network, also sparked outcry from residents who feared the health and safety implications of having high-voltage infrastructure so close to their homes. 

Local officials also expressed frustration with Arbet’s handling of the situation. Despite multiple appeals and efforts to work with him to find alternative routes, Arbet was accused of ignoring everyone’s concerns and pushing through then County Executive Kreuser’s agenda.

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Critics argue that Arbet’s actions not only demonstrate a lack of consideration for public safety, but also raise questions about transparency and accountability of the former Public Works Director. 

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Neglecting County Roads and Bridges 

Ray Arbet is also continuing to face criticism over his alleged negligence in maintaining county roads and bridges during his tenure as Public Works Director for Kenosha County. Many residents believe he is responsible for ignoring the deterioration of crucial infrastructure, including County Highways KD, O, W, and the bridge at Highway JB.

Under Arbet’s leadership, County Highways KD and O deteriorated into some of the worst roads in the county, prompting frustration and anger among drivers who navigated those routes daily. Arbet’s failure to address maintenance issues in a timely manner exacerbated the degradation of these roads. It wasn’t until Arbet was gone, and Samantha Kerkman was elected County Executive, that monies to repair the crumbling KD and O were placed in the county budget. 

Also, during Arbet’s tenure, the portion of Highway W that runs along the Fox River started washing away into the river. Eventually, this vital road had to be closed for an extended time until a solution to the crumbling road was found. Similarly, the bridge at Highway JB and the Fox River was allowed to deteriorate to the point of closure, disrupting transportation and inconveniencing residents. Farmers were especially unhappy as they had to drive their tractors miles out of their way to get from one side of the bridge to the other.

Emergency Services Infrastructure Ignored

As the individual responsible for maintaining emergency services communication towers, Arbet’s failure to address maintenance issues in a timely manner has drawn sharp criticism. After a lightning struck the communication tower at the Kenosha County Center, it was discovered that the tower was crumbling due to neglect, which jeopardized its functionality. If this neglect wasn’t discovered and repaired, it would have most likely caused the tower to collapse during the winter ice storms. The emergency repairs of the KCC tower have incurred substantial costs for the county, exacerbating budgetary pressures and diverting resources from other critical needs. The possible collapse of the KCC tower underscores the consequences of neglecting essential infrastructure.  How such a critical piece of infrastructure was allowed to deteriorate to the point of imminent collapse under Arbet’s oversight is concerning.

Erin Decker (R) – County Board Supervisor

Arbet has touted his leadership in his campaign, but residents remain skeptical of his promises, based on his poor management as Public Works Director. I am skeptical too, and that’s why residents of the 22nd District should vote for the incumbent, Erin Decker. I know conservatives can trust Erin to be responsive and make the right decisions as the County Board Supervisor for District 22. 

When asked for a statement on these issues, Arbet did not respond to our request. 

Author

  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.

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9 Responses

  1. I agree with your Opinion Kevin. Ray Arbet is a Cancer Cell that has come to disrupt the largely Conservative Republican 22nd District.

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  2. Erin recently helped me with a concern, without me asking her to, and she’s not even my County Board Supervisor. If she can help, she will. Ray seems to he the opposite, dropping the ball and not listening to the people of Kenosha County. Vote for Erin!

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  3. Arbet was appointed to Public Works director as a favor and had NO Public Works experience. He was a water boy for
    John Collins and later Jim Kreuser. Part of the Kenosha city/country swamp.

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  4. Arbet was a Jim Kre(user) hack. He could not think for himself just followed User. if he stopped to fast they had to pull him out of Users ass with a county truck

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  5. He hired Abongwa, which shows terrible decision making skills. Decker got rid of Fenske, who was the only person up there who had even half a clue.

    Sounds like a pick your poison.

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