November 18, 2015




Utah Blaine. Slowly he turns, step by step, inch by inch, while the Lake Geneva Utility Commission, acting as his second, voted the highly regarded, and well thought of leader of the department into retirement. Burly (Birdell Brellenthin) played out his hand, and came up with a three for the high card in his losing hand. He steps down to leave, lonely and lost, but with his surviving successor, Dan Winkler, totally in place. Dan had announced his retirement and was slated to become effective at the end of the year (2015), but with the unexpected demise of his silent figurehead, he might have to delay his departure for a year or two. Or maybe become like the former Lake Geneva City Administrator and stay on like Rasputin, still working to promote the cause of the dark side forces of economics and environment around the lake. In truth, Mr. Winkler was never working for the dark side, he

Dan Winkler Lake Geneva Public Works Director

Dan Winkler

was working for the Winkler side, and who among us can blame him for that? He made the Utility Department into his own fiefdom; he used the utility department like it was his very own design center; a city within a city; and a playground inside a work body. Who can blame him for that? That he and Burly go trotting out after a prospective 37% increase in utility bills is merely a signoff on careers served in highly valued, and highly paid (Mr. Winkler is the highest paid staff member in Lake Geneva, not the city administrator) self-service. And who can blame him for that? Will he retire and follow Burly into the “old soldiers never die, they just fade away” home, or will he follow Dennis into the “…out, but never forget I can still hurt you.” camp?

What really happened at last week’s definitive meeting, which resulted in Burly going to his palatial office, and then resigning? It turned out to be a ‘no confidence’ vote that tied at three to three. There is no doubt in any of the minds of the Geneva Shore Report Staff that Mike Kocourek, sitting at the head of the Utility Commission, had something to do with easing Burly down the proverbial road. Burly will most probably be promoted to the Police and Fire Commission, and then made an honorary member of “that” conservation group, since those appear to be the positions awarded to people who’ve performed questionable services for Lake Geneva over the years. Burly leaves the shop to his also departing henchman. Together Burly and Dan Winkler were able to make the Lake Geneva Utility Department the richest and most pervasive force in Lake Geneva politics. The coming huge increase in taxation to support their carving out an energy services “fiefdom” within the city is going to cost citizens dearly, as the 37% rate increase makes it from city hall to their utility bills. And, just exactly like the bankers and finance people involved with America’s continuing financial disaster of an economy, they will receive nothing but backhanded plaudits for their work.

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