Open meetings complaint filed against members of the County Board

CREATED Jun 24, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - A group from Wisconsin has filed a complaint against members of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, alleging they violated the state's Open Meetings Law.

According to the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, 13 county supervisors allegedly "engaged in a series of small secret meetings in order to get enough supervisors to agree to fire Corporation Counsel Kimberly Walker, who was appointed by County Supervisor Chris Abele."

Walker was fired June 20 in a 13-5 vote by the supervisors.

"Such small meetings, designed to evage the requirements of the Open Meetings Law... are illegal because they permit a governing body to conduct business without having to give the public notice and hold debate in an open session," said WILL in a statement.

The group has filed two other similar complaints against the County Board in the last two years, in June 2011, and May 2013.

“You have a majority of the members of a governing body meeting in small groups behind closed doors to decide ahead-of-time what action they will take when the open meeting occurs," said Tom Kamenick, Associate Counsel and open government specialist at WILL. "Then when they actually have a meeting the vote is 13-5 with no debate or discussion. The public is left completely in the dark as to why the Board acted as they did.”

The 13 supervisors named in the complaint are Marina Dimitrijevic, David Bowen, Gerry Broderick, David Cullen, Jason Haas, Patricia Jursik, Theodore Lipscomb, Sr., Khalif Rainey, Peggy Romo West, James Schmitt, Russell Stamper II, Anthony Staskunas, and John Weishan, Jr.