Throwback Thursday: One This Date in 2012…
Aldermen Randy Stroik and Mike O’Meara. (City-Times photo)
Councilman Phillips Tables Elected v Appointed Issue Prior to Vote
By Brandi Makuski
*Originally published August 21, 2012
Weeks of heated debate over a potential appointment process for key city positions resulted in the death of the entire measure.
City Council Members were to vote on the charter ordinance amendment changed the positions of city attorney and comptroller-treasurer from elected positions to appointed ones, but council members still insisted it was an unwanted change.
“I have talked to a lot of people, I spent a lot of time over at the new Copps, and by and large, people want it to stay where it is, with the election process,” said Alderman Roger Trzebiatowski. “I guess I don’t even know why we are even considering it.”
“We talked about this at council; we didn’t want it,” said Alderman Mike Wiza. “Then we formed a subcommittee, we did the research and discussed it; they didn’t want it. Then we submitted it to the personnel committee; they didn’t want it. So, I would move to vote no.”
Mayor Halverson proposed changing the offices of city attorney and comptroller/treasurer from elected to appointed in July, much to the surprise of the Council. He also created a special committee to seek out the procedures by which the appointments could be made, including whether appointments were made by the mayor’s office, the council or a combination of both.
The change would have required revisions to the city charter, after a 2/3 majority council vote and a public referendum cleared the way. Halverson said under state law, the issue would need to be approved at the August Common Council meeting on Monday if such a referendum would make the November ballot.
The issue was so unfamiliar it led to suspicion on the Council, with some claiming it was a power-grab by Halverson. Alderman Randy Stroik maintained throughout six weeks of meetings that the committee has not had enough time to discuss and explore all available options.
“This is a big deal, changing the city charter,” Stroik said while chairing the special fact- finding committee. “I do not believe we have enough time to explore all the options available to us.”
The committee on Monday told Halverson they could find no reason to change the current process, citing public objection and time constraints.
Halverson took a decidedly softer tone on the issue during Monday’s Council meeting than in previous weeks, and he agreed with the council decision to continue talks over a longer period of time.
“Time is aggressively short, and I take full blame for that,” Halverson said. “The more I think about it, this is not the right time to think about this.”