Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Gary Varvel ... again
I’ve blogged extensively about the highly questionable behavior on the part of some Franklin aldermen at Common Council meetings, and their actions have not gone unnoticed. Tuesday’s meeting opened with the Franklin Parks Commission Chairman lashing out at four aldermen, accusing them, not just of “petty political bickering,” but collaborating before meetings and “collusion.”
I listened to the audio of Tuesday’s meeting. During the opening citizen comment period, Franklin Parks Commission Chairman Dave Pautz ripped Kristen Wilhelm, Dan Mayer, Doug Schmidt, and Susanne Mayer.
Pautz began by expressing his disappointment over a move by the four to table all of Mayor Steve Olson’s aldermanic appointments to various boards or commissions at the July 7 Common Council meeting. He mentioned that Alderman Wilhelm thought that she should remain on the Parks Commission because of her experience and not be moved to another position. That’s where we pick up many of the remarks Pautz made on the record:
I wish Ms. Wilhelm was here (she was excused from the meeting) because I would remind her that she’s missed 6 of the last 12 (Parks Commission) meetings.
What smacks to me and I see this pattern consistently when I listen to the audio or attend these meetings…there seems to be a cabal of four of you aldermanic representatives that vote in unison.
It’s highly apparent and I don’t know if you realize this, it’s becoming more apparent that you guys are collaborating before you come to a meeting.
I would remind you that that there are open meeting laws in the state of Wisconsin.
And if it ever came to be that the citizens decided they’d had enough, they could find cause of action. They could subpoena your e-mails, your phone records. And don’t think that can’t happen.
Pautz then mentioned that the four aldermen all moved to prevent confirmation of the mayor’s appointment of Alderman Janet Evans to the Planning Commission. Pautz continued:
It’s rather obvious to the community what’s going on around here. I think there’s collusion going on between some of you.
It’s becoming more and more evident so you may want to temper your demeanor.
The mayor ran on his agenda of growth. The people of Franklin decided that’s what they wanted vs. his opponent who ran on a different agenda.
So I don’t understand why the Council feels that is their duty to usurp the power of the mayor simply because they don’t like his agenda.
And I think it has to stop because Franklin is becoming a laughingstock in this area.
Every city around us, Hales Corners, Muskego, Oak Creek, they’re kicking our butts on development because we sit here and squabble over points of rule. And process.
I wish a certain alderman (Wilhelm) was sitting here tonight to listen to this.
Pautz then said he had been approached to sign the recall petition against Janet Evans and couldn’t believe the lies the petitioners were making. He also said he believes there’s been an effort on the part of some aldermen to aid the process of the recall, calling that “disgusting.” Pautz continued:
If you want I could name the four individuals that I feel are part of it but I won’t.
At that point, Alderman Dan Mayer interrupted and yelled at Pautz, “Name them!”
Pautz immediately responded, “I don’t have to.”
Mayer yelled again. “Name them!” Back to Pautz:
You. Schmidt, another. Susanne Mayer. Kristen Wilhelm, the leader. And that’s my opinion as a citizen of Franklin.
I think it’s time you guys start doing what’s right for the city and stop this petty political bickering.
Pautz then referred again to the attempt to block Janet Evans’ appointment to the Planning Commission when those opposed offered no reasons why. Mayer again interrupted and yelled at Pautz, “Did you ask?” Back to Pautz:
Are you attacking me as a citizen because I’m (voicing) an opinion?
Mayor Olson banged his gavel and asked that the citizen be allowed to speak. Pautz concluded his remarks.
I’m warning you right now the audio is very damning. It’s time to grow up as a city.
Earlier in his comments Pautz urged fellow citizens to listen to the audio of meetings that can be found on the city’s website. Pautz said if you do, you’ll be “somewhat shocked.”
Bravo to Pautz for having the courage to stand up in public face to face and say what many also believe to be true but would never discuss at an open meeting.
To hear Pautz's commentary, click here. It's about 9:00 in.