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Recall effort continues against resigning Muskego alderman

May 14, 2012

Muskego - A local group has dropped its recall efforts against Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti and Alderwoman Neome Schaumberg but will file a recall petition against Alderman Keith Werner.

Debra Bolton, Muskego for Ethical Government treasurer, said in a press release that the group has the signatures needed to recall Werner and will file the petition shortly.

The release explains: "In an effort to balance the needs of those frustrated over not being heard with the needs of those tired of recalls, MEG will suspend its efforts to recall Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti and Ald. Neome Schaumberg. It is the sincere hope of Muskego for Ethical Government that these two officials have now received enough feedback from our citizens to eliminate the need to resume these recalls."

The group acknowledged Werner's intention to resign June 2, more than a week after the recall petition filing deadline. But MEG said the group wanted to follow through on a recall to give voters a chance to select a successor, which MEG felt was consistent with the initial intent of the recall.

Recalling a big issue

Schaumberg and Werner were recall targets mainly because they did not vote to put the controversial lake park proposal to a referendum, as was demanded in a direct legislation petition signed by some 3,400 people.

Werner and Schaumberg are the only two aldermen voting against a referendum who, at the moment, are still council members. Alderwoman Tracy Snead lost a bid for re-election in April and Alderman Noah Fiedler resigned because of increased family commitments after the birth of a son.

In addition to the lake park issue, the group also was critical of the mayor for not helping the city resolve the Parkland Mall lawsuit concerning the property's redevelopment.

Responding in a prepared statement to the announcement over the weekend that the recall against her would be dropped, Chiaverotti thanked supporters, then called for unity.

"More importantly there are many issues in the city that unite us rather than divide us," she said. "It's my hope that people will come together to put Muskego first to work in support of a better place to live, work and recreate."

Schaumberg could not be reached for comment.

Saying his goodbyes

Although Werner said he "intended" to resign, it seemed clear by his words at last week's Common Council meeting that he had made up his mind.

"I'm retiring from politics," said Werner, who has been 4th District alderman since 2007. "It has been a pleasure being on this council.. ... The community as a whole is a great community and to serve it has been a pleasure."

Werner said he wanted to serve until June 2 so he could attend some more meetings. However, because he might not be at the council's May 22 meeting, he wanted to give his farewell last week, he explained.

Some are critical that he did not resign before the recall filing deadline at the end of May. If he had, some theorized that the council could have then appointed a successor instead of holding an election, thereby saving money.

But one state official said that issue wasn't clear-cut.

"There is no statute or case law which definitely governs what happens if the resignation occurs prior to the clerk receiving the petition," Michael Haas, staff counsel to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, wrote in an email to MEG.

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