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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:36 am 
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This letter was published in the March 19, 2013, Tomahawk Leader. A series of letters followed in the March 26, 2013, issue.

Board actions concerning

As residents of the Town of Nokomis, we are very concerned by the actions of the board over the last few months. The town chairman, Gary Baier, is asserting his authority to make decisions regarding town employee promotions and demotions without the input of the full town board. After repeated requests, he still has failed to produce any documentation showing that the town board delegated this authority exclusively to the chairman at any time.

In November, the residents approved the 2013 budget. Shortly after, the town board began making changes to the budget. They claimed the changes were necessary for budget savings. They included outsourcing services that were previously performed as town employees’ duties without presenting any solid cost-saving analysis.

At the last town board meeting, chairman Baier refused to accept a single comment from the floor on any issue on the agenda as it was presented, repeatedly claiming that his attorney advised him not to. Residents were threatened with being removed from the room when they tried to ask questions. Is this how we want our town board to represent the citizens of Nokomis? Should we allow the chairman to stifle the voices of the public they represent?

The residents of the Town of Nokomis should be aware of the negative actions of the chairman and board members over the last few months and draw their own conclusions. One of the board members was against these actions. The minutes are available on the town website www.townofnokomis.com. The recordings will also soon be available for review on this website against the wishes of the town chairman.

Sincerely,
Bob and Judy Albano
Tomahawk


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:37 am 
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Board has every right

Regarding Mr. and Mrs. Albano’s letter in the 3/19/13 edition of the Tomahawk Leader (Page 3, “Reader Opinion”). I am a Town of Nokomis resident, I was at the latest Town Board meeting, and I feel that I must bring some facts to light regarding the recent Town of Nokomis “issues” that the Albanos complained about in their letter.

In the first paragraph, the Albanos claim that Chairman Gary Baier “is asserting his authority to make decisions regarding town employee promotions and demotions without the input of the full town board.” Fact: In the Town of Nokomis, the chairman (who is also the Road Supervisor) does not need board approval to promote, or demote, non-elected town employees. He only needs board approval to hire, fire or change a wage scale.

In the second paragraph, the Albanos insinuate that the Town Board has no right to make budget changes. Fact: The Town Board has every right to adjust the uses of the total funds budgeted to the town, by vote of the taxpayers. However, the board may not change the amount of taxes levied after budget approval, by voters.

In their third paragraph, the Albanos state that Chairman Baier somehow tried to “stifle” the voices of folks attending the meeting. Fact #1: Chairman Baier announced at the onset of the meeting that he was inserting an additional “Comments from the Floor” period of time at the beginning of the meeting to give anyone the chance to comment on any agenda item to be addressed. He also advised that the normal “Comments from the Floor” period of time would, also, be addressed towards the end of the meeting. There was ample opportunity given for anyone to speak – if they did so at the appropriate time. Fact #2: The 3/11/13 meeting was a “Town of Nokomis Board of Supervisors” meeting. It was not a wide open, town hall, type of meeting where everyone present is allowed to voice opinion, or ask questions at any time during the meeting. It was a board meeting that may be witnessed by the public. It is structured, by agenda, and does not allow for input from “just anyone” present at the meeting, unless they are requested to give input, by the board, to assist in a decision.

Finally – The shouting, the unruly, and the out-of-order conduct, displayed by Mr. Albano, and several others, has no place at any public meeting. Their attempt to disrupt the meeting, by continuously being out-of-order, and verbally attacking the Board of Supervisors was disgraceful. It was also illegal.
I sincerely hope that our next town meeting may be conducted in a much more orderly fashion, and with respect for all. If not, perhaps we should have an Oneida County Deputy present to remind people that it is illegal to try to disrupt a township meeting?

Michael Beals
Town of Nokomis
Tomahawk


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:39 am 
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Nokomis slap in face
against open government

Over the last several months, the proceedings and actions of the Town of Nokomis board at their monthly meetings have been a slap in the face to the term “Open Government.”

After the 2013 budget was approved on November 13, 2012, Town Chair Gary Baier and Supervisor Kurt Kopacz proposed changes to that budget that, in their opinion, “will save the town money.” At the March 11, 2013 meeting, several taxpayers repeatedly requested that these two Board members provide a factual cost savings analysis in writing as to why they were eliminating a full-time position. They failed to provide that requested information at the March 15, 2013, with Chairman Baier having no explanation as to why that analysis wasn’t available and making vague verbal comments about savings. They then went into closed session to determine which full-time employee position would be eliminated without any written documentation and clearly stating whether it was a budgetary cost savings or a disciplinary action. When asked what they would be using to determine which position would be eliminated, again, no answers were given to the public.

The taxpayers of Nokomis deserve better representation from their elected officials and answers to their questions and concerns, not flat-out refusals to discuss or even allow people to speak at a public meeting. I urge them to make changes at the April 2, 2013 election by voting for the following: Bette Stillman Supervisor, Brian Schmidt Supervisor, John Bowman Chair, Wendy Smith Clerk, Judy Asmondy Treasurer.

Thank you.
James C. DeBiase
Tomahawk


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:40 am 
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Won’t vote for Baier, Kopacz:
flaunting, violating state laws

Dear Editor, Town of Nokomis voters;

In the Tuesday, April 2, 2013 election I will NOT be voting for current Chairperson Gary Baier or current Supervisor Kurt Kopacz for the following reasons:

1. In the last 15 months Kopacz and Baier have met in secret town sessions 9 times. In my opinion Kopacz and Baier are flaunting, if not directly violating, the Open Meetings Law. Apparently Kopacz and Baier don't feel comfortable making decisions in public.

2. Baier has been on the Board for fifteen years and Kopacz has been town supervisor for 6 years and yet the town is still operated without the following basic documents and procedures every town should have: A. Job Descriptions, B. Purchasing Ordinance, C. Specifications for public works projects, D. Written chain of command for Town Crew, E. Employee manual.

3. Baier and Kopacz helped put together the 2012 and 2013 budgets and voted to approve both budgets containing funding for a 3 person town crew. At some point Baier and Kopacz decided to reduce the crew by one person and the reason given was "money."

4. Without public meeting and any kind of minutes, Baier and Kopacz distributed a $4 an hour raise to a town crew member. "Money" must not have been an issue then.

5. On March 11, 2013 Kopacz and Baier attempted to have approved an illegal mowing contract for over $42,000 without advertising, taking bids, and opening them in public session. No mowing project specifications are on file. "Money" wasn't an issue then. State law also must not be an issue.
6. In 2012 the Town of Nokomis paving budget was $117,802 and in 2013 the Town paving budget is $143,024. The Town did not take competitive paving bids in 2012 and has not publicly scheduled bids for 2013. No paving specifications for either year are on file in the Town Hall. Baier takes care of the paving projects.

7. On March 15, 2013, after another secret town session, Baier and Kopacz fired the most senior town crew employee without publicly stating even one criteria for the dismissal or how the decision was made. The most senior town employee has a spotless employee evaluation record in his 11 years. To top it off, Baier didn't have the physical tools necessary so he asked the dissenting town supervisor to deliver the bad news to the terminated employee and collect his keys and tools.

8. Baier and Kopacz approved a no bid paving project of over $41,000 at the Town Garage in 2012 in direct violation of State law.

9. Baier and Kopacz approved a no bid paving project of over $37,000 on White Road in 2011 in direct violation of State law.

10. To top it off and prove how little Baier and Kopacz care about laws, guess what appeared last week on County Highway L, well within road right away? Yep, signs urging drivers to vote for Kopacz and Baier. I'm still trying to find arrogance in the dictionary.

I urge all Nokomis voters to send a message to Baier and Kopacz that Nokomis residents are entitled to and expect an open, honest, and organized Town government, something they are not getting from Baier and Kopacz.

Paul Garner
Tomahawk


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:41 am 
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Unknown fiscal impact

Perpetual reorganization. Having recently attended two Town of Nokomis board meetings and reading the minutes of past meetings we feel the need to comment. It appears many decisions are being made without much thought. Some examples are that Chairman Baier: demoted a long term road supervisor; promoted a worker (whose position was created 1-½ years ago) to shop foreman; raised the pay of the new shop foreman to the pay of the former road supervisor; cut the hours of the former road supervisor and another employee to 32 hours/week. Following all of those changes, with Baier and Kopacz voting yes, and Stillman voting no, the board did the following: hired a firm to mow lawns at an annual cost of $14,120 without getting other bids. Why were there no other bids? The chairman said they do not have to get bids; eliminated a road crew position; decided the eliminated position should be that of the former road supervisor.

How much is being saved with all of the above? The chairman was unable to answer, but did say he would provide the public with a cost analysis on 3/15/13, but he did not. How can the cost of a service be weighed against the value of said service when the cost is unknown? When asked, since creating a new position 1-½ years ago, what has happened since then and why are we eliminating a position now; the chairman said we have the right to do it.

On 12/19/12 the chairman indicated there will be no more changes to employment at this time; when asked what has changed since then, the chairman said no comment. The minutes for the 12-10-12 meeting indicate the town was going to drop health insurance, nine days later the board approved a one-year renewal for health insurance.

If these decisions had been thought out, it seems there would be answers to the reasons for the ongoing change in direction. How can decisions that affect the services provided to the town, and the livelihood of the town employees, be made without knowing the fiscal impact?

John and Gloria Nettesheim
Tomahawk


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:42 am 
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Treasurer does not agree
with Nokomis board direction

To the Town of Nokomis Residents

As many of you know I have decided not to run for Treasurer of the Town of Nokomis in this spring election. I feel blessed to have been able to meet and serve the residents of the town. The clerk and I worked together diligently and have made a lasting friendship. I truly enjoyed working for the town however this past year has been quite stressful and I am taking this stress home with me. After contemplating what to do and with the help of my husband this will be my last term.
That being said I do not agree with what the current chairman and one of the board members are doing. The direction in which they are going doesn’t seem to include the tax payer’s voices. The last three to four monthly meetings the board has not been able to answer questions addressed to them. The only reason given is the budget.

I urge everyone to vote on April 2nd so our voices can be heard. Please research your candidates and don’t let this election be a popularity contest.

I would also like to endorse the following candidates for the Spring Election: Chairman John Bowman, Supervisors Bette Stillman and Brian Schmidt, Clerk Wendy Smith and Treasurer Judi Asmondy.

Thank you,
Mary Schewe
Treasurer Town of Nokomis


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:55 am 
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Dear i think the Albanos insinuate that the Town Board has no right to make budget changes. Fact: The Town Board has every right to adjust the uses of the total funds budgeted to the town, by vote of the taxpayers. However, the board may not change the amount of taxes levied after budget approval, by voters.


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