The Clintonville Common Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 21, did not take place because too few council members were present for a quorum.
At 6 p.m., when the meeting was scheduled to start, only six council members were present.
Mark Doornink, Jerry Jorgenson, Phil Rath and Bill Zienert were absent.
Mayor Judy Magee asked Police Chief Terry Lorge to summon a squad car to the home of one of the absent members.
Also at this time, Warren Kraft, who was originally hired by the council as special counsel to research the city attorney position, and Clintonville city attorney April Dunlavy had a conversation while looking through a binder of papers.
At 6:05 p.m., Magee told those in attendance they were waiting for a quorum.
Lorge returned shortly after that. He then received a phone call at 6:10 p.m. After the phone call he spoke with Magee and Dunlavy. After that conversation, Magee summoned Kraft to the front. Magee, Dunlavy and Kraft then conversed. Lorge was asked to join the conversation, which ended at about 6:15 p.m.
In a follow-up interview, Dunlavy would not say what was discussed with Kraft.
“Part of that discussion would remain confidential because it related to ongoing confidential matters,” Dunlavy said. “Part of that discussion might have been scheduling.”
After the conversation among lawyers and city officials, Magee announced there was no quorum and the meeting would not take place. She said it was tentatively planned for Tuesday, May 27.
The council had met the prior night for more than two hours.
Leading up to Wednesday’s meeting, some questioned whether the meeting could legally be held, as the required 24-hour public notice did not occur.
When asked about that on Thursday, May 22, Dunlavy said, “There is a city ordinance in Clintonville that allows for six hours notice. In state statute it requires 24 hours notice unless it’s impossible or impractical, at which case you can have not less than two hours notice.”
She added, “The meeting was agreed upon at the Tuesday night meeting of the common council that there would be a meeting on Wednesday, which was already after the 24 hours notice which would have made it impractical for 24 hours in advance.”
The Wednesday meeting that Dunlavy said was planned on Tuesday night was not discussed in open session at the Tuesday meeting.
When asked why the public was not informed at the Tuesday meeting about Wednesday’s planned meeting, Dunlavy said, “I believe it was just formally agreed upon as people were leaving, they were confirming whether or not they could attend. No formal action was taken on whether a meeting would take place.”
Dunlavy said the meeting was needed on Wednesday so the report on the investigation regarding the city administrator’s alleged misconduct could be presented.
“The attorney making that report could not be there on Tuesday,” Dunlavy said.
When asked why a meeting was held Tuesday since the investigating attorney could not be there, Dunlavy said, “I don’t know exactly when I knew he wouldn’t be there or when the agenda was made because the agenda had to be made for Tuesday night’s meeting with the 24 hours
. I don’t want to comment any further because it might lead into things that relate to something confidential.”
She added, “I don’t have a specific answer for that question.”
City Administrator Lisa Kotter’s suspension was to conclude at the end of Wednesday.
When asked Thursday about the status of the suspension, Dunlavy said, “By order of the mayor the administrative leave is going to continue until further notice or action of the common council.”
Dunlavy said the mayor has the authority to extend the suspension because she is the city’s chief executive officer.
Dunlavy said she could not comment on the question of whether there will be a final resolution next week to the ongoing investigation.