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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:43 pm 
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A Letter in the April 25 Tomahawk Leader

To the Editor:

First, I thank the many citizens who have express(d) comfort and sympathy about my resignation as town clerk – and concerns about recent events in the town of Skanawan.
Yes, I did lose my cool at the March 20 board meeting because a woman was allowed to stand up and accuse me of writing articles about the cemetery plot sale and burial errors for the Tomahawk Leader. She said, “Shame on you. Shame on you.” When I tried to reply that I had received an Open Records request for agendas and minutes of all meetings back to December, 2005, and must by law provide records to anyone who asks … Supervisor Bill Jones yelled to sit down, I was not a member of the board and had no permission to speak. Open Meetings Law states that all town board meetings must have an agenda and nothing that is not on the agenda may be discussed and/or voted upon. And, citizens may not give comments or input unless stated on the agenda. The board allowed people to make remarks throughout the meeting – citizens even voted on two agenda items! – and that woman was never told she was out of order. But I was not allowed to correct misinformation, lies and defend my reputation. …

The real reason for the backlash, however, goes back to an illegal motion and vote at the November, 2004 Budget Hearing and Special Meeting of Electors, instigated by Tom Rick. He was to receive a 43 percent increase in wages. When I contacted the Wisconsin Towns Association questioning the legality of the discussion and vote, I was told in writing that because there was no notice of the intent to discuss raises, “the motion was invalid and should not take effect.” … It was illegal. Lincoln County District Attorney Don Dunphy wrote a letter Nov. 1, 2005, stating the board must rescind the motion or he would be “compelled to file an open meetings violation complaint” and petition for an “injunction forbidding the town clerk from dispensing any compensation to the town officials until this matter has been decided by the court.” Assistant Attorney General of the Wisconsin Department of Justice concurred with the Wisconsin Towns Association’s advice and district attorney’s response … My information came from lawyers with a background in Open Meetings Law and government ... Tom Rick is not a lawyer. … The board refused to take action until the Lincoln County District Attorney sent the Nov. 1, 2005, letter, claiming it was the previous board’s mistake and they were not responsible for correcting the error. All town officers are to uphold state law – no exceptions.

A few months ago, Supervisor Jones made a demand (for) “back wages” … Tom Rick made the same request at the April 10 board meeting to be voted upon at the May meeting. … The name of the game is “greed.”
I have given copies of e-mails and letters on this, as well as the cemetery issue, to the Tomahawk Leader and they can verify the truthfulness of this information.

Respectfully,
Karen Olson
Irma


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