Who controls and runs the City of Lake Geneva?
At least in theory it is the people of Lake Geneva through their elected members of the city council, who with the exception of the autonomous Police Department, have all the authority of the City of Lake Geneva vested in them. Well, officially and by law, that is who runs the City of Lake Geneva. However, in actual practice there is a cabal that runs the City of Lake Geneva.
Those with financial clout have always influenced and guided the city towards their interests; however, over the last decade it has progressed from a guiding influence to nearly complete control of the City Council, and committees with selected likeminded individuals appointed to them. The control of the city went from influential citizens, to business owners, and then added financial personnel (bankers, realtors, Tax fee organizations). In the process city committees have been staffed with individuals who hold or support similar views. This mix of appointments, combined with law suits and recalls against opposition alderpersons, has (until recently) silenced the general public, such that in local elections most candidates run unopposed, thus assuring their win.
The City Council has authorized others to use its authority and passed resolutions that have hampered and restricted the ability of the aldermen to do their job, while not imposing the same restrictions on appointed city officials and committees.
For example: The City Council approved the city’s employee manual that requires all alderman requests to go through the City Administrator, and it forbids city employees from answering or discussing city matters with aldermen without permission from their supervisor to do so. The manual also requires city employees to inform their supervisor any time an alderperson questions, asks for, or inquires about the city’s operation, or city information. Also, another city council approved ordinance selectively restricts aldermen. It takes two city aldermen to put an issue on the City Council agenda, and it has to be done two Fridays before the meeting.
But neither of these restriction apply to the mayor, city attorney, city administrator or committee chairpersons.
Another serious restriction on the alderpersons that hampers the City Council (although originally well intended) is Wisconsin “Open Meetings Law”, which other city officials have selectively used to control and restrict aldermen by warning, accusing and prosecuting aldermen for violating it. However, other city officials who violate that law are not prosecuted. Recently, the general public has spoken against some of these biased actions and unfair regulations. The re-routing of the road through Big Foot State Park was stopped, the four story parking garage stopped, the destruction of a home in Maple Park home ended, and the elimination of the city’s restriction on the use of primary colors, are some of the public’s accomplishments.
The next step is for more citizens who care about the city, and who represent the interests of Lake Geneva’s residents, to take a more active interest in our local government. Citizens who will devote some of their time, talents and energy to be more informed will benefit themselves and the city as a whole. Those who are informed can help lead and direct the city; whereas, those who are not informed are destine to be led where others take them. The City Council’s agendas and packets are online at the city’s website cityoflakegeneva.com.
Take some time to know where the city is heading, because it will affect you. If you take an interest, you can help determine the city’s direction.
Citizen silence, is like signing names to an 8-million-dollar blank check for city officials to spend, and that silence implies approval. Not to speak is just another way of speaking and giving approval.
Silence equals assent.
Surprising Visitor to Lake Geneva