In a recent article by Christopher Kuhagen at WaukeshaNow.Com, current Town of Waukesha Chairman Angie E. Van Scyoc is being challenged in the spring 2013 election by John Marek. Assistant Town Clerk Eryn Baudo verified that, Marek, a general contractor and real estate investor, has turned in his campaign registration statement.
I recently spoke with Marek about his candidacy and he voiced grave and valid concerns about Town Board operations, including spending practices and increased closed meeting sessions by the town board. Marek contends these practices are being egregiously spearheaded by Van Scyoc whose role as chairperson is to lead the board in conformity to applicable laws. Marek hopes to unseat Van Scyoc and return the town board to operations and spending practices that conform to local and state law, and to reinstate transparency and restore the necessary confidence that local government is serving the best interests of its community.
Secret Meetings of Waukesha Town Board Validated
A little research quickly confirms Marek’s concerns of the town boards’ secrecy behind closed door sessions – numbers he claims are twice as many as public hearings in 2012.
Earlier this year the Journal Sentinel published an article about the secrecy of the Waukesha Town Board. More recently one of the town board members himself, Town Supervisor Everett German, initiated legal action against Van Scyoc claiming egregious open meeting violations. Although Van Scyoc denies the claims it appears the facts support German’s claims.
German sought 6,000 emails from Van Scyoc’s town email and she countered that it would incur $30,000 in attorney fees to have her attorney screen the emails. I want to know why any emails from a government official would need to be screened by counsel to begin with, unless she is attempting to hide something.
Concerns Of Legal Fees by Van Scyoc
Marek contends that under Chairwoman Van Scyoc’s leadership the Town has spent nearly $1 million in legal fees in the past 2.5 years. Again, a little research verifies this as the Town of Waukesha has been embroiled in many legal disputes. One of them includes a legal action against the contractor who plowed for the town of Waukesha. Ultimately that action cost the town $120,000 in legal fees and $297,5000 to settle with the contractor for money that was owed to him. That’s right; the town owed this contractor money, sued him, and lost!
Others legal actions include battles against the City of Waukesha and the City of Brookfield – both cased which have ultimately been dismissed for legal reasons, although one case is in limbo under appeal.
Below is a letter that Marek authored in challenging Van Scyoc:
I am John Marek and I am running in the April election to unseat current Town of Waukesha Chairperson, (Angie E.) Van Scyoc.
Here are just a few reasons why:
In 2 ½ years, under Chairwoman Van Scyoc’s leadership the Town has spent nearly $1 million in legal fees and settlement expenses. The vast majority of these expenditures have not been authorized or appropriated by the town board, as required by state law and municipal ordinance.
At the Dec. 27, 2012 Town Board meeting, the chairwoman made many eye-opening statements.
Here are two:
- “It is common place for local governments to group these items (un-appropriated expenditures) and do it once a year,” and,
- the way the board is handing the un-appropriated expenditures “may not be statutorily ideal.”
This is completely misleading, and in defiance to Wisconsin State Statute 65.90, which states that the board must approve any expenditures not already in the budget.
Prior town boards have adopted a town ordinance which follows these statutory requirements. Sec. 3-1-4 of the town code reads: (No money shall be drawn from the treasury of the Town, nor shall any obligation for the expenditure of money be incurred, except in pursuance of the annual appropriation in the adopted budget).
Not a single budget amendment has been made since Chairperson Van Scyoc took office. Chairwoman Van Scyoc prefers to operate the town finances in the same manner as we see in Washington, where money is spent without any budget being in place.
After bringing these items to light, one supervisor asked that I be removed from the meeting.
Ironically, that supervisor, Mike Laska, wasn’t even in the Town Hall himself, and hasn’t attended any Town meeting in months. You see, our Cyber Supervisor attends the Town business meetings from his winter haven in Texas, via Skype.
Likely, Laska will not set foot on Town of Waukesha soil (snow), or actually perform in the post he was elected to, until his return from his annual six-month winter sabbatical in April.
I am not aware of any other municipality that allows members to attend meetings by Skype and to vote on important town matters that affect all residents.
If I am elected town chair, I will ask the board to adopt an ordinance that requires board members to attend meetings in person.
Common sense dictates that if someone wants to represent the citizens, that person should find the time to attend meetings.
John Marek, Town of WaukeshaShare this post via: