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Town of Waukesha Board meeting turns ugly

Van Scyoc addresses challenger, but Marek stays quiet during forum

March 5, 2013

There haven't been many Town of Waukesha Board meetings that haven't gotten testy in the last few months.

Board members have bickered on stage for hours about a hodgepodge of issues that only continue to grow. And residents in the audience have been told their behavior warrants being dismissed from meetings.

So it was no surprise that things escalated once again Feb. 28.

It was an open-forum meeting that was supposed to encourage a healthy discussion where residents could learn about the town's financial state.

But when two supervisors questioned an ordinance regarding how funds should be spent in accordance with appropriation, the meeting got ugly.

Before even discussing the ordinance, Supervisor Everett German argued with Chairwoman Angie E. Van Scyoc about who would read it out loud.

German demanded Town Attorney Hector de la Mora read it. Van Scyoc couldn't believe they were fighting over this.

When Van Scyoc was reading the ordinance, town resident Tom Patti approached the board with another copy of the ordinance. Van Scyoc ordered Patti to have a seat.

German felt the town wasn't following the ordinance on properly appropriating its funds and disagreed with de la Mora.

"We always follow the ordinance," Van Scyoc said. "And you have approved budget amendments."

She explained the budget amendment follows the end of the fiscal year, through its audit.

"It's the cleanest way of doing it where you have final numbers," Van Scyoc said, referencing the budget amendment draft that was available at the meeting to residents and board members. "There have been all sorts of talk and allegations that people are pushing things back to previous years.

"There is no such thing. It doesn't happen. Never has. Once the audit (is done), any expense that would come in, would go in 2013. There is no going back."

But Patti, who filed a complaint with Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel last week against Van Scyoc regarding his belief that the town spent unappropriated funds, returned to the front of the room.

"I believe this is an example of where you're not following the town's ordinances," Patti fiercely said.

Then he accused Van Scyoc of making a claim at a previous meeting of saying that she doesn't have to follow the Town's ordinances.

"I have never, ever said we don't follow them," Van Scyoc said. "We follow them daily. Had you had a concern you could have always brought it directly to us (instead of the district attorney).”

Now away from the microphone, he argued for a few minutes and continued to shout from his seat with the rest of the room watching.

"She says she doesn't have to follow the ordinances," Patti screamed.

"You're so far off base, I don't know where to start," replied Van Scyoc, almost in disbelief to this latest accusation.

After that exchange, some people on the left side of the audience whispered, “come on Sandy, come on,” referring to Town resident Sandy Hamm, who attends every Town meeting, video tapes them and has urged the board to come together.

Hamm eventually came to the microphone and said since Schimel found nothing illegal on Van Scyoc and that there is no need for an investigation, this fighting needs to stop.

With Patti still shouting from the back, Hamm said, "It's silly this town is burdening our district attorney with senseless things and that's what he thinks, too."

The meeting got more tense when Van Scyoc addressed her challenger in the upcoming election for the town chair, John Marek, who has made allegations against Van Scyoc for misappropriating funds.

Marek had stayed quiet throughout the meeting.

"Nothing tonight?" Van Scyoc asked. "You've accused me of a lot of things. This is an opportunity to ask those questions."

Marek didn't respond and Supervisor Brian Fischer wanted to move on. But Van Scyoc wanted to hear from Marek.

"I'd like to have Mr. Marek acknowledge that he has his questions answered on budget amendments … and a gluttony of things (you have accused me of)," said Van Scyoc.

After more silence, Marek finally replied: "I'm not going to engage you in your petty political game."

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