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Conflicted Town Board rejects mediation plan

German will pay for expense of Van Scyoc's emails

Dec. 11, 2012

They say they have the same objective.

How they get to this point was at the center of attention once again at the Town of Waukesha Board meeting Dec. 5.

It was highlighted during an exchange between Supervisor Brian Fischer, Town Chairwoman Angie E. Van Scyoc and Supervisor Everett German, who has hired an outside attorney after alleging that Van Scyoc and the town violated open meetings and open records rules.

This alleged violation has been the driving force behind recent public conflict among board members.

As part of the investigation, German's attorney, Paul Bucher, is seeking 6,000 emails from Van Scyoc over the last six months because German says they have caused a walking quorum. He also has repeatedly said that he has received "snotty-grams" from Van Scyoc.

Ultimately, the board agreed that the town will have 45 days to turn over Van Scyoc's emails, instead of the original 30 that Bucher had requested. German also said that he will pay a maximum of $300 for the production of the emails as well as up to $30,000 in legal fees that Van Scyoc might incur on the issue.

Town Attorney Hector de la Mora, who represents the town on legal matters and also provides guidance, said with such a small staff at the Town of Waukesha, this kind of request is rare.

"I've never been involved in this kind of a public records request," de la Mora said.

DA says no wrongdoing

It was revealed at the meeting that Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel was contacted by Bucher on the emails, which German said he wasn't aware of.

Van Scyoc said Schimel had this response to the emails he saw: "He could not conclude that the emails sent to him constitute any issue. These emails are unpleasant exchange but no evidence of a walking quorum. I have been cleared but can now claim a case or a DA number with my name on it. My mother would be proud."

After more back and forth between German, who said he only turned over two emails, and Van Scyoc on this, the chairwoman said, "Let the record show that he found no issue with anything that I've done."

German and his lawyer also accused the town of violating open meetings rules in October when they held an emergency meeting to discuss a confidential document regarding the City of Waukesha's water negotiations that was leaked to a local media member.

No mediation wanted

These accusations have generated constant frustrations on the end of Van Scyoc.

It reached to the level that Fischer made a proposal at last week's meeting to invite a representative of the Mediation Center of Waukesha County to make a presentation to the Town Board on providing services to assist them in resolving conflicts. It was a proposal that eventually failed with Van Scyoc and Supervisors Mike Laska and Joe Banske voting against it.

German and Fischer voted for the Mediation Center.

Before that, however, frustrations once again boiled over on this topic.

"I hope we can resolve the conflicts between members of the Town Board so we can get down to doing the town's business," Fischer said.

"I have that goal, too," Van Scyoc said.

"I do also," German said.

Asking for issue to stop

Despite having this same goal, Van Scyoc said, "I think it's embarrassing and beneath the Town of Waukesha to even have this on our agenda. There isn't an overall issue with people getting along on this Town Board. There is an individual who is creating a lot of strife. And if that individual would stop we would not have issues in the Town of Waukesha.

"We could do the business that we are here to do. So with all due respect, you can't mediate when there aren't a number of issues. There's one issue and that issue needs to be resolved."

Clearly referencing German and his allegations, the supervisor said, "I don't want you to take all of the blame for issues."

"I'm not taking any blame," an irritated Van Scyoc said.

"You said one person on this board," German replied back.

"Yeah, that's pretty funny Mr. German. I am not hiring attorneys and I am not asking for 6,000 emails, and I am not causing the request and I am not creating issues on a day-to-day basis that this chairwoman needs to fix.

"So I think we know exactly what the issue is and it needs to stop. I wish I felt the Mediation Center was the solution but it's not."

Fischer chimed in, saying, "There are five members of this board. None of us is pure as the driven snow."

After he paused, Van Scyoc said, "it's ridiculous." Fischer brushed aside his microphone with a disgusted look on his face.

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