Lake Geneva council seat remains vacant
The heated debate was another chapter in a battle that’s been brewing in the city since former Alderman Spyro “Speedo” Condos was appointed Aug. 24 to fill a vacant seat until April 2011. He resigned last month as part of a deal between Mayor Bill Chesen and four council members Chesen suspended and accused of violations.
Chesen on Sept. 10 suspended Mary Jo Fesenmaier, Arleen Krohn, Penny Roehrer and Tom Spellman, accusing them of misconduct and violating the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. Chesen accused Spellman and Roehrer also of neglecting their duties.
In order to restore quorum to the council, Chesen on Sept. 21 rescinded the suspensions of Roehrer and Krohn. The council on Sept. 23 approved Larry Magee and Sturges Taggart as replacements for Fesenmaier and Spellman, respectively.
But the battle stalled until the day before Thanksgiving, when Walworth County Circuit Court Judge Michael Gibbs mediated a two-hour private session that resulted in the agreement involving Condos.
Chesen agreed to rescind the suspensions of Fesenmaier and Spellman, and to drop the charges against them and Krohn and Roehrer. In exchange, Condos resigned from the council.
Chesen on Monday said he was dismayed by Condos’ resignation letter, which read: “I look forward to being reappointed.” The mayor said part of the agreement was that Condos would not be reappointed to the seat. If he were, there would be repercussions.
Alderman Frank Marsala also thought Condos would not be reappointed. He suggested the council instead leave the seat vacant until April 2010, when the city will hold a special election to fill the seat.
The council voted 4-3 against reappointing Condos, with Chesen casting the tiebreaking vote. Alderman Donald Tolar was absent.
The council also voted 3-2 against leaving the seat vacant, with Spellman abstaining.