Janesville68.5°

Council issues liquor license over negative recommendation

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
May 28, 2008
— It was a kinder and gentler council that on Monday issued a bartender’s license to Lynette Ziegler.

The alcohol license advisory committee had denied Ziegler a license because of her past convictions, including felony charges of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and delivery of cocaine. Ziegler spent nine months in jail and five years on probation.


Ziegler appealed the committee’s denial. In a letter, she wrote that she works at the VFW Club and needs a license to keep the job because her employer periodically must leave the building.


She said she has been in drug rehabilitation and has been drug-free since 2004. Ziegler said she has a savings account and believes she has shown she’s a responsible worker.


“I respectfully request that you grant me a bartender’s license so that I may continue to improve my life,” she said. “That is, after all, what this is all about.”


At what point do we decide someone has paid his or her debt to society? council president Amy Loasching asked.


“Once you make a mistake, you’re done?”


Deputy Police Chief David Moore said the seriousness of the violations must be considered along with the responsibilities of a bartender.


“Certainly, a period of time with no problems bodes well for the applicant,” he said


It is rare, Moore said, for a convicted felon to get an operator’s license, let alone someone who committed serious violations.


Councilman Tom McDonald noted that Ziegler has gone through rehabilitation, is trying to get her life back in order and has been clean for more than four years.


“It’s just seems like in this case, she’s done everything society’s asked her to do,” he said.


Loasching commended Ziegler for going through treatment.


“I know it’s not an easy thing to do … If you need help, be strong enough to reach out and get that help.


“I think you’ve paid your debt to society (and) you’re well on the road to recovery. I’m glad you have the support of your employer, and wish you all the luck.”


Most of the council decided that Ziegler deserved a second chance. Members Russ Steeber and George Brunner, current and former law enforcement officials, voted against issuing her a license.


The council restricted her license to the VFW Club.


OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the Janesville City Council on Tuesday:


-- Created a sustainability committee and adopted ecology guidelines.


“My only comment on this is, ‘Yea!’” council president Amy Loasching said. “I’m really glad to be getting this off the ground. I know of all kinds of citizens who want to be involved. I look forward to watching this committee grow.”


A smattering of applause came from the audience, which included residents who spoke in favor of the committee earlier in the meeting.


City Manager Steve Sheiffer said the city now has 14 committee vacancies that need filling, nine of which are on the new committee.


Residents can volunteer through e-mail or by letter. He and Loasching will go through the names and present them to the council for approval.


-- Settled a liability claim for $27,500 with Lorillee Castiglioni, Edgerton. She filed the claim after a collision with a police squad car Aug. 21.


-- Accepted the retirement of Judy Adler, who worked for the city for 29 years, most recently as a planner in the neighborhood services department.


-- Approved borrowing $15.2 million for capital projects.



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