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Waukesha Town Board bickers about alleged violations

Van Scyoc wants examples, German cites "snotty-grams"

Nov. 20, 2012

Amid concerns over an alleged open meetings/open records violation, Town of Waukesha board members continued to butt heads at last week's Town of Waukesha board meeting.

Town Supervisor Everett German recently hired Paul E. Bucher of Bucher Law Group, stating a walking quorum took place between Town Board members and that an open meetings violation occurred.

Town of Waukesha Chairwoman Angie Van Scyoc addressed the latter concern by stating the meeting that was called on Oct. 16 to discuss a confidential document that was leaked to a member of the media regarding the City of Waukesha's service area in its bid to find a new water source was given more than two hours notice and that she consulted with legal counsel before holding the meeting.

The chairwoman then asked German what the problem truly is and for specifics on the walking quorum concerns.

In a letter from Bucher on behalf of German, it asks Van Scyoc to turn over the more than 6,000 emails that she has generated in the last six months.

She said that it would cost an estimated $30,000 for that to happen.

A grudge match?

"What is really your goal here?" Van Scyoc asked German. "I'd like to know what the issue is so we truly can correct it. Why can't you say this is what you did, here's an example and then we give it to our attorney? If we don't know what's wrong how do we address it?"

Van Scyoc then wondered why he would need an attorney to go through the emails when she told him "you're included in them. You must have a stack of stuff against me already. Do you need more?"

Van Scyoc also questioned German on why he went to an outside attorney without coming to the town board or town attorney first.

She also asked German why he didn't bring these concerns to her attention earlier.

He said he responded to her email and received another "snarky email back."

German then told the board that he's talking about what he called "snotty-grams" that have gone on between the Town Board and questioned the attorney on why he did not stop them.

"We were not talking about policy in those," Van Scyoc said. "Are you just in a grudge match or do you have a significant concern (on a violation)?"

Right to question

She then said that the Town is very transparent and that she is confused because German asked to have more of an open dialogue among Town staff and supervisors.

"We have a very open government," Van Scyoc said. "I don't think there's another government like us that provides as much detail. Every complaint that comes into this office, every concern that is written up, it is sent to all of us so we are aware of our constituent concerns.

"We are informing the board what goes on in the Town. That is part of the process you wanted. Now, you have it and you're saying it's an open meetings violation. Well, you can't have it both ways.

"If there's an adjustment that needs to be made than let's do it, but we're not aware of what the issue is."

While he did not provide any specifics of the open meetings violation, German was firm in his stance.

"If I feel there is something wrong I have the right to question that," German said. "I get shut out. I get snotty remarks. Up here it should not become personal and it has become personal. My first priority is the Town of Waukesha. I represent the Town of Waukesha and should be treated equally."

Van Scyoc said German has not followed protocol on a recent open records request.

"You have demonstrated very clearly your blatant disregard to everyone's authority," Van Scyoc said on German giving a local media outlet documents without addressing the town clerk or town attorney.

Ultimately, German agreed to provide documentation of violations so Bucher and Town Attorney Hector de la Mora can sit down and figure out the problem.

Supervisors Brian Fischer and Mike Laska were both against spending Town money on having Van Scyoc's emails gone through.

"This tit-for-tat stuff isn't getting the Town of Waukesha to a better place," Fischer said. "The discord and the dysfunction is not something that has come about within the last couple of weeks or couple of months.

"It's been there for a long period of time. It's bubbled over and maybe that's a good thing if a better day is to come. There have been snotty-grams that have been exchanged between board members.

"It's not anything that anyone should be proud of. Can we move on to a better day and get done with this nonsense?"

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