Paid or volunteer representation. Which makes for better government officials, those who are paid or those who volunteer? There are arguments supporting both, but as the size and complexity of a government increases, the balance moves from volunteers to paid officials.
In the City of Lake Geneva, the City administrator, City Attorney and City workers are paid employees; whereas, the appointed members and elected officers of the city’s government who are the authority within the city are basically subsistence paid volunteers. Committee and commission members are unpaid, and the meager salaries that the city council members receive does not begin to compensate them for the responsibility that they have or the work they are (or should be) doing. So in reviewing the volunteer aspect of Lake Geneva’s city government, it is assumed that their meager salary is not the driving force for being in office, but that the driving force behind the volunteer members of the City Council, committees and commissions is personal, and that it involves influencing the city’s actions and/or attempting to move the city in a particular direction. The actions, or the city’s direction that they support, will benefit those of a like mind set, and therefore directly or indirectly they in a similar manor will also benefit personally, emotionally or financially as well.
As the City of Lake Geneva has increased in size, the complexity and the time required for its proper operations has also increased, which in turn limits those who are capable, able and willing to volunteer their time and energy to be on the City Council. Although personally rewarding, being an elected official in the City of Lake Geneva is a lot of work and often a thankless job. Today in the city of Lake Geneva there are fewer and fewer people willing to volunteer their time and to run for or hold a political office. Perhaps it is time for city officials to look at more than just simplifying and streamlining the city’s operation, but to consider offering reasonable compensation for the members of the city’s governing body, rather than having the city’s operation and direction continue to be dependent on a limited number of volunteers willing to give their time and effort to govern the City of Lake Geneva.
What Happened Here? There is an outrage of old fashioned cigar-smoking, middle-of-the-night, evil quietly sweeping through the corridors of Lake Geneva’s leadership halls. On Tuesday night the city finance committee met to begin considering whether the property surrounding the Geneva Inn is to be annexed to Lake Geneva and from the Town of Linn. But the consideration has been going on for some time, except it’s successfully been kept secret. Ever since last year when the Geneva Inn was denied its request to build commercially down to the edge of the water, it has evidently been working behind closed doors at Lake Geneva’s city hall. That means the mayor, the city administrator, the city attorney and probably certain key members of the city council (think Kordus) have been plotting this move. The move is to allow the development denied by the Town of Linn, because the people in the Town of Linn, including Jim Weiss, the leader of the town board, have better sense. Jim Weiss received a phone call on Tuesday morning form a staff member of the GSR to get his response to the potential of this annexation (having heard by rumor that it would be on the Finance Committees agenda only earlier in the day).
Jim Weiss was stunned. Nobody had consulted him. Like the great Hummel property theft, another annexation pulled off in secret, here they come again, but with different names and cleaner backgrounds and hands. Those backgrounds and hands are about to get dirty, and if the GSR has anything to say about it, bloody, as well. Not only did these leaders sneak this onto the Finance Committee agenda, they didn’t publish the agenda online, as they always have in the past. They blamed this on the brand new website the city just installed. The site wasn’t done, bad as it now looks. But colorblindness and amateur taste in websites aside, this secret cabal of leaders also moved the meeting room for the decision making to Meeting Room 2A, and that room has one major feature. Or rather, it lacks two: video or audio recording coverage. This classic outrage of secret governmental maneuvering has been quietly and confidentially accomplished with a great excuse by Lake Geneva’s city administrator: “I only have done what I was told to do.”
That excuse was used by the German leaders after WWII at Nuremburg. What will be the result here? Along with the annexation, the Geneva Inn will get to build whatever they want with respect to zoning, and also an additional liquor license that’s not available to anyone else. The quiet Lake Geneva has experienced lately is about to be broken and the word that describes that breakage is called war.