Letter to the Editor: McMillan residents weigh in on election
At the state level, it is widely understood that McMillan has been “off track” for decades. It is known by many as one of a few townships in the state to have persistent difficulty getting along. Hopefully, the April 2 election can bring some folks back to the table and a new voice to change that track record. Some households in McMillan received a yellow trifold highlighting three candidates. Some households received a collection of separate flyers highlighting three additional candidates. Here are some common themes that are worth sharing with the entire community.
Comments from the separate flyers illustrate a spirit of agitation for the sake of agitation:
“Suppression of Taxpayer Input” The candidate is referring to the necessary steps taken by the board after a small, but vocal, group of agitators at the town meeting had repeatedly spoken out of turn and used swear words to describe board members and their actions. The privilege of public comment (which it is, according to WI State Statute) was removed for two meetings, until this group could control themselves better. It was reinstated after those two meetings. A new tactic of agitation was then employed: making comments after discussion period was closed, rather than commenting when the board asked for any additional comments. Speaking out of turn is counter to Roberts Rules, which is an internationally accepted code of rules for meetings and are in place at all McMillan town meetings. If you follow the rules, you may make public comments.
“Foolish Lawyer Bills” More agitators (including a current candidate for supervisor and a resident who actually made death threats against a former township employee) brought thirteen false allegations (misappropriation of funds, misconduct in office, etc.) against a board member, which set into motion a costly, months-long investigation, which found all thirteen allegations to be baseless. Sheriff Scott Parks, as well as the detective on the case, suggested having the township lawyer present at town meetings to educate the residents who brought forth the allegations about municipal law, not “because incumbents were not following WI State Statutes.” If the agitators would play nicely in the sandbox, there would be no need for a lawyer, nor costly investigation by the district attorney.
“Lack of Transparency” This claim was made by a candidate who served as Town Clerk, and, in that capacity, neglected to enter the 2018 budget into the budget computer program for six months, resulting in a monthly budget report that showed an inaccurate negative balance. This individual also refused to set regular office hours, and never provided the documentation of hours worked, even when requested to do so by three board members (then promptly resigned!). This is an example of true lack of transparency. Transparency is in place in the Town of McMillan, as all town documents are always available to anyone who makes a request to the Town Clerk, per open records law which has been consistently upheld in the Town of McMillan.
“Competitive Bidding Process is Necessary” Per state statute, town boards may not solicit bids for goods and services directly. Requests for bids must be announced and posted publicly. A Town Board cannot operate as an individual household does. If only one bid comes in through the process of announcement and posting, then the Board evaluates that one bid. The Board always hopes to receive several bids for the sake of getting a better price for the goods and services. The candidate who suggested that multiple bids should be solicited for goods and services clearly has no experience with how government agencies operate. Lots of hot air wasted by the agitators about a bidding process which was exactly according to WI State Statutes.
Comments from the yellow trifold illustrate a spirit of community building and compromise.
“Creating a Harmonious Rural-Urban Interface” Just what we need to meet the needs of all residents of McMillan.
“Civility and respect” This candidate has years of experience handling a colorful audience at town meetings.
“Funding… allocated in a fair manner” The fiscal decisions are not always as straightforward as one would like them to be.
The yellow trifold offers candidates who focus on the future: Carolyn Optiz, Dave Swensen, and Steve Ziemba. The separate flyers offer candidates who are reacting to inaccurate accounts of the past, do not understand municipal law and whose actions have wasted taxpayer dollars.
Vote April 2!