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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Wagner To Reconsider Town Hall Rental Fees

Issue Date: March 8, 2018

Rental fees and pay for cleaning of the Wagner Town Hall are on the agenda for discussion and possible action by the Wagner Town Board at its monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13.

There had been discussion at previous meetings as to who should and should not be charged a rental fee for town hall use. Suggestions have been made that 4-H, the Historical Society (which maintains a museum there) and the Fire Department should not be charged. Revision of a motion regarding the rental charges that had been approved at the board's Dec. 13 meeting 1is on the agenda for consideration.

Agenda includes discussion/consideration of Town Board access to the clerk/treasurer's office, and possibly authorizing Clerk Linda Wilke and Treasurer Bruce Meyhoff to attend the Clerk and Treasurer Training Institute at UWGB from July 15 through July 20.

The board is also to consider a fire department proposal to add a cold storage area to the existing building; having an audit done on town finances, and destruction of checks within specified number ranges that are no longer needed.

What was to have been a special meeting of the Wagner Town Board for "closed door" discussion on "general topics of information for board members" at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 4 was called to order by Town Chair Lynn Hickey and then promptly adjourned after a warning from Clerk Linda Wilke that if they continued they would be breaking some Wisconsin open meetings laws.

Present for what turned out to be a non-meeting were Wilke, Hickey, supervisors Allen Sievert and Molly Arthur, and several members of the public including Todd Hermes, Mike Caylor, Lynda Caylor, Darcy Hermes, Linda Larochelle, Rita Renikow, and Steve Renikow, Jr.

Wilke was out of the room when the meeting was called to order, but immediately after re-entering asked the board to adjourn to avoid breaking the Open Meetings Law.

Wilke noted that except in cases of dire emergency, meetings cannot not be convened without having notice posted at least 24 hours in advance, and according to state statute 990.001(4)(a), "Sunday and legal holiday hours cannot count for the 24 hour meeting notice." Notice for the Sunday afternoon meeting on March 4 was not posted until 10 a.m. Saturday, March 3.

Further, Wilke said in violation of state statute 19.85(1), the "meeting agenda called for a closed door session with no information as to the subject of the closed door session."

Closed door meetings of governing bodies in Wisconsin are allowed only for specific exceptions, for example when the discussion involves s specific individual, when conferring with legal counsel, or when considering buying or selling a specific property.

According to Wisconsin League of Municipalities, the open meetings law personnel exemptions in secs. 19.85(1)(b) and (c) do not allow discussions on general personnel or management issue discussions. "They are designed instead for discussions pertaining to specific persons over whom the governmental body has jurisdiction. These sections do not authorize a closed session to discuss general matters such as what qualifications a governmental body is seeking in candidates for a position of public employment or the general salary scale to apply to a position of employment. They also do not authorize a closed session to discuss an employee assistance program, personnel policy manual changes, staffing reductions or increases, or other general personnel policy matters," their website states.


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