The Farmington Town Board voted to reappoint Sandy Grenlie as the clerk-treasurer for one more year at its monthly meeting Monday, March 21.
Board members voted twice on whether to reappoint Grenlie due to disagreements over procedures.
After Town Chairman Dale Trinrud introduced a motion to reappoint Grenlie and Supervisor Caroline Murphy seconded it,
Supervisor Joel Bartel then objected to consideration of Trinrud’s motion.
Under Robert’s Rules of Order, a member of a governing body may prevent discussion of a motion by objecting to its consideration. The chairman then immediately asks for a vote on whether to consider the original motion.
If a two-thirds majority of the body votes no, then the motion is dismissed for that session. Without a two-thirds majority voting no to consideration, discussion continues as if the objection had never been made.
What happened after Bartel objected to consideration is not clear.
Trinrud called for a vote but did not specifically say whether it was on his motion to reappoint Grenlie or on Bartel’s objection. He and Supervisor Caroline Murphy voted yes, while Bartel voted no.
Then Bartel said the motion died until the board’s next meeting, indicating that the other two board members had voted in favor of his objection.
Trinrud and Murphy denied that they had voted for Bartel’s objection. They said they had voted for the original motion to reappoint Grenlie.
Bartel said they could not vote on Trinrud’s motion until they had voted on the objection. So he argued that their vote had actually been in favor of his objection.
Trinrud then stated that the board was to vote on his motion to reappoint Grenlie as clerk-treasurer for a one-year term beginning March 21, 2011. And the vote was again 2-1, with Bartel again objecting to consideration of the motion.
Bartel then said he did not believe the board should vote on the reappointment until it had received a written legal opinion.
At issue was the town board’s failure to vote on Grenlie’s reappointment in April 2010.
Grenlie took over responsibilities for the combined positions of town clerk and treasurer in December 2002. Town residents voted to make the clerk-treasurer an appointed rather than an elected position at a special meeting of electors in November 2006.
The town meeting’s decision took effect after the April 2007 town election. Grenlie’s appointment was for a three-year term. However, the town board did not place Grenlie’s reappointment on the agenda in April 2010 or on any agenda until Bartel made the clerk-treasurer position a campaign issue in his bid for re-election.
“The chairman sets the agenda and failed to bring it up in April 2010,” Bartel said.
He also noted that the board was supposed to conduct an annual review of the clerk-treasurer’s salary and working conditions, and adjust them in January of each year.
“I take responsibility for the oversight,” Trinrud said, adding that the board had reviewed Grenlie’s position and salary in October 2010 at the budget workshop that Bartel had not attended. “You could have been there.”
Trinrud said he had contacted Rick Stadelman, executive director of the Wisconsin Towns Association, about the delay of Grenlie’s reappointment.
In a March 14 e-mail to Trinrud, Stadelman said, “The town board may reappoint the current person for a three-year term either from the time the original appointment was to end (April 2010) or for a three-year appointment from this March 25, 2011, date forward. The town board has the authority to make the decision and to reappoint the same person. Majority vote of the town board will control.”