After being ordered by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board to set a recall election date, the Clintonville City Council did so.
At a special council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 7, the council accepted the Certificate of Sufficiency for the recall election of Alderman Greg Rose. The recall election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 18. Rose abstained from the vote.
Alderman Bill Zienert asked what was included in the document that each council member received at the meeting.
Peggy Johnson, clerk treasurer for the city, said it was a correspondence from the Government Accountability Board. She stated that the GAB set the date for the recall election, but also stated the council must accept the date.
Zienert asked if the GAB gave an indication of what would happen if the council didn’t accept the date.
“No they did not,” Johnson said.
City Attorney April Dunlavy finally addressed the council about the matter.
“If the motion would fail again then the Government Accountability Board would refer it to the Department of Justice and then it would be court ordered,” Dunlavy said. “Right now the Government Accountability Board is ordering you to call the recall election. If you do not, then it will go through counsel at the Department of Justice. And it will be court ordered to do it.”
“I think that we’re basically ordered to do this and it would be a legal mess if we voted no,” Rose said.
With Mayor Judy Magee on a medical leave of absence, Council President Jeannie Schley led the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Schley made the following comment, “As the city attorney and the League of Municipalities has instructed, I will be the presiding officer tonight but I will also be a voting member of the council because I don’t want to not vote for my constituents.”
Mike Krueger spoke about listening to a recent committee meeting and stated it was clear to him that many on the council had never run a business.
“You set people up to fail, as you have done in the past,” Krueger said.
He said that it was clear to him that the council is trying to micromanage.
“This will not only undermine the authority of the department heads, it will also create an immediate distrust between the council and the department heads,” Krueger said.
He added, “You need a qualified city administrator to run the city, you can not micromanage the heads of departments.”
Bill Vandaalwyk, who originally started the recall effort against Alderman Greg Rose, addressed the council about the lack of action it previously took in setting the recall election date.
“First of all we made the biggest mistake by letting Lisa Kotter go,” Vandaalwyk said.
Vandaalwyk also addressed comments that Alderwoman Gloria Dunlavy made at a prior meeting about a recall election costing $5,000 to conduct. He disputed that amount.
“The people want the recall,” Vandaalwyk said. “They are willing to pay. The taxpayer is willing to pay the $2,500 to make the recall happen.”
He talked about the time Johnson has spent working on items related to the recall effort. At a previous meeting, Dunlavy asked Johnson how many hours she had worked on those items.
“I bet you Peggy has not spent 15 minutes with me and I’m on the other end of it,” Vandaalwyk said.
He said he also stopped City Attorney April Dunlavy after the prior meeting and asked her about advisement. Then he stated that the council broke state law at the prior meeting when it didn’t set a date for the recall election.
“The six of you have to answer to this. You are no longer giving the questions to people. You now have to answer,” VanDaalwyk said.
Vandaalwyk said he had a couple more points to make when Schley cut him off and told him his 10 minutes were up.
“The council can afford you to speak longer if they choose, but the 10 minutes is up unless the council affords you to speak longer. That is the rule,” Schley said.
“I think I’m bringing up some valid points. I bet I’m speaking for a lot of people behind me,” Vandaalwyk said.
Several people from the audience yelled that he could use their 10 minutes.
When reviewing the audio recording of the meeting, VanDaalwyk had spoken only eight minutes and 45 seconds when he was stopped by Schley.
Alderman Mark Doornink made a motion to give Vandaalwyk two more minutes to speak. It passed, but was not unanimous. Alderwoman Mary Beth Kuester was one who voted not to afford Vandaalwyk more time.
Vandaalwyk said last week Kuester voted against 87 of her constituents by voting not to set a date for the recall election.
Treatment of local business was also addressed by Vandaalwyk.
“We had two council meetings that were jam-packed, absolutely jam-packed with business people here. Very, very significant people, and you want to talk about business, you slapped them right square in the face, the six of you. I’m not talking about everybody because there are people who are voting against the other six,” Vandaalwyk said.
He also said it was obvious the council didn’t find the things in the investigation it was hoping to find.
“I’m sorry that I have to present myself this way because normally this isn’t the case,” Vandaalwyk said.
He concluded his remarks talking about more recall elections.
“You’re worried about one recall? You better put a contingency fund in there for a few more. Thank you,” Vandaalwyk said.