All authority within the City of Lake Geneva, not restricted by the Constitution, federal, state, or county laws and regulations, the State of Wisconsin has been given over to the city’s common council.
However, those with money and/or influence have worked to successfully usurp and/or restricted some of the authority of the common council by getting certain legislation passed, like the “Open Meetings Law.” The “Open Meetings Law” has good points, but it was sold as a means to end shady backroom deals, but that’s not what happened. The law merely moved the shady backroom deals from the common council to the city’s staff, which in the City of Lake Geneva has been the cause of, and foundation for, the three major lawsuits that were successfully filed against the city.
An objection to the “Open Meeting Law” is that, as it is written and enforced, it limits and restricts constructive conversations and communication about city issues between alderpersons, except on published agenda items during common council meetings open to the public, thus prohibiting alderpersons from sharing or communicating city information they have learned with other alderpersons, as is available to everyone else. Furthermore, in the City of Lake Geneva, an individual alderperson cannot put an item on the agenda to be discussed, but other city personnel can.
Per the city’s personnel manual:
1.) A city employee is not to answer an alderperson’s question about the city unless they have been given permission by their supervisor.
2.) All alderperson requests for city information must go through the city administrator.
The city’s common council should be allowed to overcome some of this hindrance to open communication with the other common council members by adding a “general discussion” agenda item at the end of the common council meeting agenda. That would allow individual alderpersons the opportunity to present or open for discussion, any city issue not on the agenda, but it should also include in that agenda item that the common council cannot take any official action, except to have the item being discussed placed as an agenda item for discussion and/or action, at the next common council meeting.
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