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Frustration Runs High as Mayor, Council Bicker Over BID Board Appointments

After two months, the Waukesha Business Improvement District's board still doesn't have enough members.

The Waukesha Common Council pushed back a majority of Mayor Jeff Scrima’s appointments to the Business Improvement District Thursday in a heated meeting that left the mayor and aldermen frustrated with the appointment process.

The council denied appointments of Phil Lee, Kevin Larson and Roger Igielski after many aldermen were unhappy the mayor ignored their requests and suggestions for board members. Scrima's appointment of Bill Huelsman was approved by the council.

The council voted 7-7 on approving the appointment of Jim Taylor, a tie that was broken by Scrima, which put Taylor on the board.

The BID board, which hasn’t met since most of its members resigned in September after the former executive director accused some of them of fostering a hostile work environment, still doesn’t have enough members to hold a meeting.

“I am sorry to have to vote that way,” said Alderwoman Joan Francoeur. “It was my intention and hope to have a balanced appointment slate that I could agree to.”

Scrima told the aldermen it was their fault that the BID board does not have enough members because they did not approve his appointments.

“I did bring additional names forward,” Scrima said. “The council has had two opportunities to get the BID board moving, but has chosen not to.”

Scrima also accused the council of not doing its homework by contacting the candidates to learn more about them. Scrima told the council his appointments were “outstanding.”

“That is also very disappointing,” Scrima said. “With all due respect, if you as the council want to vet appointments, then do your job and contact them.”

Alderman Eric Payne went on attack before he was told to have better decorum in the council chambers. Payne told the mayor “it really ticks me off that you are putting this on us, the council.”

The mayor didn’t ask a list of potential candidates the council provided him to see if they would be willing to serve on the board, Payne said.

“You purposefully are dancing around the names that are brought forward. … I tell you what I am getting sick of it,” Payne said. “The way you are playing the game it is just nuts.”

Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings also laid into the mayor, telling him that she researched the candidates and she would support Igielski in one year, but not now.

Then she accused the mayor of having a “roaming quorum” when he asked for resignations during a meeting at a downtown business. 

“But you know, just saying,” Cummings said sarcastically.

“Your statements are blatantly false,” Scrima told her.

Eleven board members resigned from the 13-member board in September following a controversial resignation letter and a council woman's request to remove the entire board.

The controversy stems from a resignation that letter that former Executive Director Meghan Sprager submitted in August that cited hostile working conditions from two BID board members as the reason for her departure.

Properties in the downtown area are taxed a special assessment to fund services of the BID, such as marketing, special events and business recruitment and retention.

Peyton November 17, 2012 at 06:07 PM
What needs to be investigated is Barta's personal relationship with the former Executive Director... Downtown Waukesha has sordid secrets.
Victoria Hekkers November 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Peyton, If I were Jeff, I would have an attorney so fast your head would spin. This is absolutely slander and it is in print. You have went too far!
Victoria Hekkers November 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Correction.. Libel is the use of false, defamatory claims about someone in written or printed form. Slander likewise denotes false statements that damage a person’s reputation, but it is committed orally or in any other transient form.
jeff Barta November 17, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Once again another post by someone who has never posted before, hmmm. Once again, another anonymous lie meant to discredit someone who has spoken out about what goes on downtown. It is yet another prime example of what happens downtown when someone dares to question the WDBA or one of its leaders. These tactics have gone on for years. Meghan had the courage to expose it which takes away its effectiveness. The mayor without investigation, dismissed her allegations and defended his buddies, effectively calling her a liar. Her claims were never investigated. This poster, who again is anonymous under yet another alias, has done nothing more than help me and others make the case for exposing the bad behavior downtown. Unfortunately, it looks like old habits die hard.
Skip Wieserman November 18, 2012 at 11:40 PM
@Victoria Hekkers: So your solution in dealing with an allegation is to sue? It's people like you that have ruined the economy and bushiness principles in this country. Someone called me a name, I'll sue them... Someone made the coffee hot and I spilled it on myself, I'll sue them... etc., etc., etc. There is no attorney worth their weight in liability insurance who would ever raise such a frivolous and meritoriousness claim as you contend! This is what an attorney would have to prove: http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/elements-of-libel-and-slander.html Peyton merely made the allegation that someone had a personal relationship with another person. He/she did not denote any specific "type" of relationship, so where do you feel that there would be any merit to filing a libel claim against them?

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