Kell describes Clintonville’s process as a ‘circus’
By Bert Lehman
After sparring over approving an appointment to the Badger Power Marketing Authority, the Clintonville City Council failed to appoint anyone at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Clintonville Mayor Judy Magee appointed Jason Hornung to fill a vacancy on the Badger Power Marketing Authority. When making the appointment Magee said Hornung was “very qualified” for the position.
When it came time for the council to discuss approving Hornung to Badger Power, Alderwoman Mary-Beth Kuester addressed the council and began campaigning to be appointed herself. She handed out a document that contained excerpts from her resume.
Kuester claimed Badger Power requested the city appoint someone who is connected to the Clintonville Industrial Park.
Kuester also told the council that at the Clintonville Utility Board meeting held the prior day, board member Jim Supanich said “the big users are the big users and the people really don’t need representation.” Immediately after making the statement, Kuester said she was paraphrasing Supanich’s remarks.
Alderman Steve Kettenhoven said he was at the Utility Board meeting, and he clarified that Supanich did not say citizens should not get representation.
“He did not say anything close to that,” Kettenhoven said.
Kuester apologized for the comment, but then stated, “He did say that he thought the largest utility members needed to be represented totally, and that he didn’t think the citizens needed a representation.”
Kettenhoven again clarified that Supanich never said citizens didn’t need representation.
Council President Lois Bressette, who was also at the Utility Board meeting, agreed with Kettenhoven that Supanich never said citizens didn’t need representation.
The Tribune-Gazette was at the Utility Committee meeting, and according the notes from the meeting, Supanich stated that the industrial park utility users and citizens want the same thing, affordable utility rates.
Alderman Brad Rokus made a motion to accept the nomination of Hornung. The motion was seconded by Kettenhoven.
During discussion, Alderwoman Jeannie Schley said she had nothing against the nominee but said she had heard that Hornung was already appointed according to Badger Power.
“Our rules supersede the Badger Power rules, and our rules are, you have to ask us first, before you appoint them,” Schley said.
Bressette told the council that Kuester had never contacted her about being interested in the vacancy.
“I guess I’m a little taken aback about her marketing herself and promoting herself to the council at this point, especially when it is a mayoral appointment,” Bressette said.
Bressette said she would take responsibility for the appointment information being sent to Badger Power before the council approved it. Bressette has been acting mayor while Magee dealt with health issues.
Kuester said she didn’t know about the vacancy until after the appointment was made.
Bressette reiterated Kuester never expressed to her that she was interested in the vacancy.
Kuester said she contacted City Administrator Chuck Kell about the vacancy, and claimed she was told the appointment was already made.
“The appointment was made tonight,” Magee said. “We have to vote on it yet.”
The motion to approve Hornung to the Badger Power Board Authority failed by a vote of 4-4-1. Voting no were Kuester, Aldermen Jim Krause and Darrell Teall, and Alderwoman Gloria Dunlavy. Schley abstained. Alderwoman Amy Steenbock was excused from the meeting.
After more comments by council members, Mike Krueger, president of the Badger Power Marketing Authority, asked if he could address the council. Krueger had spoken about the issue during the public comments portion of the meeting.
The council did not allow Krueger to speak. Council members voting not to allow him to speak included Dunlavy, Kuester, and Schley.
Kell told the council that Badger Power contacted city hall and informed it that Hornung had been appointed. Kell said Badger Power was informed the appointment needed city council approval. At that point, Kell said he tried contacting Hornung, but spoke with his wife, and informed her that even though Badger Power had contacted Hornung about being available for its next meeting, that the process required council approval which would take place at the next council meeting.
“They’re very aware of the fact that this process got a little off kilter,” Kell said.
He said that Badger Power wasn’t to blame, and added that the reason it was on the current agenda was to make sure it went through the proper process.
“I didn’t realize there was going to be so much contention about this,” Kell said.
He added that the city should have nominees provide information about themselves to help the council know if they are qualified.
“Quite frankly I think this is very poor that we have a citizen that has offered his services to the community and we’re making a shambles out of his appointment this evening. To me that’s not the right thing to do,” Kell said. “I’d like to correct that by changing this process a little bit in the future.”
He added, “How many citizens are going to want to serve for you if this is the kind of circus they’re going to go through to have their name considered.”
Magee informed the council that she is under a doctor’s orders, and the doctor will dictate how much Magee can do regarding the duties of mayor. She also stated that since she is an elected official, she doesn’t need to present a doctor’s excuse to the council.
Later in the meeting Magee said she intends to serve as mayor until Jan. 1.
Kell updated the council about the attorney fees regarding the Chapter 17 complaint filed by Tricia Rose against Magee.
Kell said at the time of the meeting the city hadn’t received final invoices from all the attorneys. He did tell the board the total cost for legal fees regarding the complaint will probably approach $60,000.