The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors opened the year by electing new leadership.

Supervisor Harley Pothoff was chosen unanimously to lead the three-person board during the body’s inaugural meeting of the year, held Jan. 3 at the Dubuque County Courthouse. Supervisor Jay Wickham attended the meeting virtually via Zoom.

Pothoff, who has held his seat since the start of 2021, said after the meeting that he looks forward to serving as the board chairman.

“I think it will be a good thing,” he said. “I think we can work together and move things forward.”

During a meeting last month, Supervisor Ann McDonough accused Wickham of a pattern of harassing, insulting and belittling her for years.

The two Democratic supervisors had regularly clashed during discussions at meetings, and McDonough had said in a statement during the Dec. 20 meeting that she had been subjected to harassment for the three years she had spent on the board.

Wickham had told the Telegraph Herald on Dec. 20 that he was surprised by McDonough’s feelings and by her statement.

McDonough, then the board’s chairwoman, closed her statement last month by announcing her intent to nominate Pothoff to serve as the board’s chairman and asked that he bring a code of ethics or rules for the Board of Supervisors that would dissuade mistreatment of one supervisor by another.

The board unanimously approved a resolution outlining that code Jan. 3. There was no discussion on the topic.

The approved code states that members of the board “shall conduct themselves in a manner to reflect professionalism and respect toward their colleagues at all times during meetings, whether such meetings are open or closed to the public.”

The code prohibits board members from treating each other with disrespect during meetings, expressly prohibiting such behaviors that harass, belittle or insult.

The code states that failure to comply with the rules could result in an admonishment by the board chairman if approved by two of the three members.

“Such behavior is further subject to all applicable local, state and federal processes, procedures and remedies,” according to the code.

After the meeting, Pothoff also discussed some of his overall goals for the county in the new year.

“We are still looking at the space needs of the county and hoping to move that forward,” he said. “We have obviously a lot of things to get done with (federal American Rescue Plan) funds. It’s just going to be a busy year.”