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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Goldschmidt, Meyhoff Are Not Candidates For Wagner Board

Issue Date: March 21, 2019

Contrary to a report in last week's Peshtigo Times, the names of Toni Goldschmidt and Bruce Meyhoff will not be on the ballot as candidates for town supervisor positions on the Wagner Town Board in the elections on Tuesday, April 2. According to Town Chair Lynn Hickey, they also are not running as write-in candidates.

The only two Wagner supervisor candidates on the ballot will be incumbents Mollie Arthur and Ed Delfosse. At press time, there were no other candidates for those two positions.

Hickey, who had resigned her elected position as town chair in April of 2018, will be the sole candidate for town chair named on the ballot. Prior to the statutory deadline on Tuesday, Jan. 2, Hickey had filed nomination papers for return to the town chair position. She is currently serving as appointed town chair, having been returned to office by action of Arthur and Delfosse at a special board meeting on Monday, Feb. 25.

Although there is no ballot competition, Hickey faces a challenge from Steve Renikow, Sr. for the town chair post. At the regular monthly Town Board meeting on Tuesday, March 12, Renikow announced he is seeking the town chair position as a write-in candidate.

At the conclusion of that March 12 meeting, Cassie Brown announced that she will be a write-in candidate for Town Clerk. Linda Wilke, the previous appointed clerk, had filed nomination papers to run for the position on April 2, her resignation was accepted on Feb. 14. Brown was appointed to replace her at the special Town Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 25, the same meeting at which Hickey was appointed to fill the Town Chair vacancy until the new terms begin in April.

In a phone interview on Monday, March 16 Wilke told the Peshtigo Times she resigned for health issues that she believes were related to stress. Since her nomination papers had been properly filed and posted, her name must remain on the ballot. However, Wilke she said if she is elected she will not serve, and she hopes write-in candidate Cassie Brown draws the most votes. Wilke added that Brown has excellent qualifications for the clerk position.

This has been a year of resignations in Wagner. Wilke had been appointed clerk by Hickey in December of 2017 to fill the position vacated by resignations of elected clerk Melissa Christiansen in August of 2017, and then by Goldschmidt about a month later. In April of 2017 Goldschmidt had been elected treasurer, replacing Margot Renikow, who did not seek re-election.

Meyhoff resigned in 2018, shortly before the April meeting at which Hickey and Supervisor Allen Sievert resigned.

Meyhoff and Goldschmidt had filed nomination papers with Wilke on December 30 of 2018 as candidates for town supervisor. Had the papers been done correctly their names would have been on the April 2 ballot along with incumbents Arthur and Delfosse. There are two Supervisor seats to be filled.

After getting input from County Clerk Kathy Brandt and the Elections Commission Wilke had declared their nomination papers incomplete and therefore their names would not be on the April 2 ballot.

On Friday, Jan. 11 complaints appealing Wilke's decision were filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission by Goldschmidt, on behalf of herself, and by Hickey on behalf of herself and Meyhoff.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission ruled on Friday, Feb. 8 that since Hickey had been able to complete and file all the required ballot access documents prior to the statutory deadline on Jan. 2, her name was to be on the April 2 ballot. The Commission further ruled that candidacy filings by Meyhoff and Goldschmidt were not properly done and they were denied ballot access.

Megan Wolfe, interim administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, addressed a letter to Hickey, Goldschmidt, Meyhoff and Wilke on Friday, Feb. 8, explaining that the Commission staff had reviewed the complaints, all the supporting documentation provided with the complaints and the unverified email responses filed by the town clerk before reaching a decision.

The letter went on to explain the analysis and final decision of the Commission for each of the candidates - Wilke, Goldschmidt and Meyhoff.

The letter stated that Hickey, candidate for Town of Wagner chairperson, was granted ballot access as she was able to complete all the required ballot access documents prior to the deadline. After Wilke confirmed to Commission staff that Hickey's name will be on the ballot, her complaint was dismissed.

The letter goes on to state that Hickey had submitted a cover sheet of a "complaint" on behalf of Meyhoff, which stated that "she had received permission from Mr. Meyhoff to "submit his name in this paperwork' (presumably a complaint challenging Ms. Wilke's decision). The "complaint' was not signed by Mr. Meyhoff, nor was it notarized. Additionally, the "complaint' does not make any allegations that Clerk Wilke failed to follow applicable election laws or abused her discretion in making her decision," Wolfe's letter went on. "The unverified "complaint' cover letter submitted is simply not sufficient to appeal any decision made by Clerk Wilke."

The letter says that according to Clerk Wilke's response, Mr. Meyhoff was denied ballot access because he did not file the required campaign registration form prior to the January 2, 2019 deadline, and goes on, "There is nothing in Mr. Meyhoff's "complaint" that disputes this fact or provides any explanation or reason for why this required document was not completed and filed on time.. That was followed by quoting state statutes Wis. Stat. 8.10(5) and 11.0202(1)(a) which basically state if no properly filled out registration statement has been filed by or on behalf of a candidate for state or local office by the filing deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy, the name of the candidate may not appear on the ballot.

"The Commission affirms the decision of Clerk Wilke to deny ballot access to Mr. Meyhoff for two reasons, the letter goes on. ŕ) The Commission did not receive a proper, verified complaint from Mr. Meyhoff challenging the clerk's decision, 2) Even if the Commission had received a proper, verified complaint, if Mr. Meyhoff did not file a campaign registration statement by the statutory deadline, his name shall not appear on the ballot.

"The complaint' filed by Mr. Meyhoff is dismissed, and his name shall not appear on the 2019 Spring Election ballot."

In regard to the Toni Goldschmidt Complaint, Wolfe wrote: "Ms. Goldschmidt, candidate for Town of Wagner Supervisor was denied ballot access because she failed to file a completed campaign registration form prior to the January 2, 2019 deadline," and then went on to cite the statutes referred to in Meyhoff's complaint.

Finally as a summary in regard to the matters of Hickey versus Wilke, Meyhoff versus Wilke, and Goldschmidt versus Wilke, Wolfe wrote:

"Clerk Wilke determined, after consultation with both the Wisconsin Ethics Commission (responsible for administration of Wis. Statutes Chapter 11) and the Marinette County Clerk (filing officer for county offices), that the campaign registration statement for Ms. Goldschmidt was not completed and timely filed by the deadline. Based on this information, Clerk Wilke denied ballot access to Ms. Goldschmidt.

"The Commission affirms the decision of Clerk Wilke to deny Ms. Goldschmidt ballot access for the 2019 Spring Election. Ms. Goldschmidt's complaint does not refute that the campaign registration statement was not completed and filed timely. The complaint only states that she was "confused" when she received word from Clerk Wilke that she was not going to be on the ballot because she stated that Clerk Wilke had "looked over the papers quite well, and signed the EL-151 and gave it to me.'"

Wolfe's letter explains that the EL-151 is a ballot access receipt form designed by the Commission and used by local clerks, and adds, ""the EL-151 signed by Ms. Wilke does not state that the campaign registration statement was complete or accepted, it simply states that the form was submitted on December 30, 2018."

"Candidates have the responsibility to ensure that all election forms and paperwork are complete prior to the filing deadline," the letter concludes. "While clerks may provide candidates with feedback and assist in ensuring all paperwork has been filled out properly at the time of filing, no statute requires an instant review of the paperwork and ballot access decision on the spot.

"The complaint filed by Ms. Goldschmidt is dismissed, and her name shall not appear on the 2019 Spring Election ballot," Wolfe stated.

Wolfe pointed out in her final paragraphs that any aggrieved party may appeal this decision to circuit court no later than 30 days after the issuance of this decision, and ended with an invitation for anyone with additional questions about the letter or the Commission's decision to contact her.

Also the March 12 news report of the monthly Wagner Town Board meeting had a typographical error in the price of the fire truck being purchased for the Wagner Fire Department. The price printed was $17,622.123, and should have been $17,622.12.


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