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Town board members argue over supervisor's "secret" meeting with city officials

Banske asks for sanctions be put on German, Fischer for withholding information; Says German lying about not talking about water with city

Feb. 15, 2013

At the Town of Waukesha Board meeting Thursday night, it was also revealed that Supervisor Everett German and Supervisor Brian Fischer held a meeting with City of Waukesha officials without other board members' knowledge.

The meeting came after the Town voted unanimously at a Jan. 24 board meeting to include a northern portion of the town in the city's service area in its application for Lake Michigan water.

The Town's decision also included a volume of water "in the amount of not less than 0.55 millions of gallons per day to be allocated for the Town."

Then on Tuesday, City Administrator Ed Henschel sent a letter to the Town saying "after discussing this matter with the DNR, the DNR believes the Town's motion is flawed."

And in his letter, Henschel says "the volume of water cited by the Town is inappropriate and excessive for the amount of land included."

German said the water service area was not discussed at his meeting.

"So you talked about donuts or did you talk about the water service area?" Supervisor Joe Banske said. "Who are you sir that I, as a supervisor, am not entitled? Who are you, to these residents in this audience, that they are not entitled to know exactly who was at a meeting that effects the Town of Waukesha."

"It's none of your business," said German, who indicated Banske and the other board members would find out when he writes up a report. "You're theatrics are superb. I'm not answering anymore of your questions."

"Because you're lying through your teeth," Banske said.

German then denied it again. "I'm not lying through my teeth," German said.

"Mr. German no one is going to believe that," Town of Waukesha Chairwoman Angie E. Van Scyoc said.

However, Banske, who pressed German to reveal information on what was discussed and who was present at this "secret" meeting, asked that the Town attorney look into sanctions to be put on the two supervisors "for withholding information from the board."

"Try telling the truth," Van Scyoc told German. "We don't have a reason to wait. Who did you meet with?"

German finally revealed Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak and Henschel were at this meeting and that he wanted to know how many times Van Scyoc and Banske had met with them without the board's knowledge. He said it was on four occasions.

Van Scyoc said the two times they met with city officials they always brought back a report and that it was not a secret.

"I don't feel I'm getting the proper information back to me," German said on why he met with city officials. "(The) decision the board made (on the water) was never discussed."

"I can hardly believe it," Van Scyoc said to German. "And before we left (for the city) we got your permission in one of those closed sessions that you didn't want to come to. So you have always known. Nothing has ever been secret."

Van Scyoc again questioned German.

"So you meet with the water utility (general manager) and the city administrator a week after we make a vote on the water service area," Van Scyoc said. "You go there and the water service was never (discussed)?"

At one point, German's wife, from the audience, proclaimed "point of order" and Van Scyoc told her that the board is having a discussion, not to make any more statements or she would be removed from the meeting.

"There was no problem when I communicated with (the city) after the decision," Van Scyoc said. "Any concern has happened since your meeting. It's a pretty direct parallel."

"Not true," German said.

"Those facts are true," Van Scyoc said. "You're disingenuous way of dealing with us is really disturbing. You know the difficulty in all of this, despite all of the distractions, we've done a good job of protecting the taxpayers of the Town of Waukesha and your antics have really gotten us into hot water.

"But this is the biggest one. The rest we were able to get ourselves out of.

"I'm not sure we're going to correct the damage on this one."

Van Scyoc added "we made a good decision on Jan. 24. I continue to stand by it. I feel we have binding agreement."

After many minutes of arguing about German's meeting, the board decided to send a letter to the DNR reaffirming the Town's service map and that the commitments are maintained.

Fischer, who was on vacation, was not at the meeting.

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