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Attorney opinion stops aldermen's discussion on policy changes

March 13, 2013

In an apparent departure from past practice, the Muskego Common Council on Tuesday was prevented from discussing changes to the city's new purchasing policy.

Aldermen Kert Harenda and Neil Borgman had placed the purchasing policy on the Common Council Committee of the Whole agenda and were expecting to discuss it this week. That was until Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti announced that, in the city attorney's opinion, such a discussion was not procedurally correct.

Policy changes have to go to a committee first, according to the attorney, she said.

Borgman, a veteran alderman, said that in all his years on the Common Council, aldermen discussed issues if two of them had asked for an item be placed on the agenda.

Chiaverotti, who was elected mayor in 2011, has been accustomed to seeing such issues proceed only after a committee had a chance to discuss them. So, not knowing what to do with an agenda item that didn't come from a committee, she said she sought the city attorney's opinion.

Harenda was frustrated because he wanted the council to discuss pulling back from the modifications it had made to the city's purchasing policy a year and a half ago giving the mayor much more authority over expenditures. Harenda was anxious to hold that discussion because he will be off the council after the next meeting because his term will expire.

Following the options the city attorney gave, the council voted 5-2 to discuss the purchasing policy at its next Committee of the Whole meeting.

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