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Lake Geneva appointee planning to seek seat in recall

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Kayla Bunge
November 20, 2009
— Despite a previous promise not to seek the office, a man appointed to the city council to fill in for a member who remains suspended plans to run for the his seat in a recall election next month.

Sturges P. Taggart, 129 Curtis St., has taken out papers to run against suspended Alderman Tom Spellman, who faces recall in a special election scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 22. Taggart said he would turn in the papers today or Monday.


Taggart was appointed to the city council Sept. 23 to serve as a replacement for Spellman.


Mayor Bill Chesen on Sept. 10 suspended Spellman and council members Mary Jo Fesenmaier, Arleen Krohn and Penny Roehrer, accusing them of misconduct and violating the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. Chesen has accused Spellman and Roehrer also of neglecting their duties.


Chesen on Sept. 21 rescinded the suspensions of Krohn and Roehrer to restore quorum to the council. The city council voted—on a tie-breaking vote by the mayor—to appoint Taggart and Larry Magee to the council to serve as replacements for Spellman and Fesenmaier, respectively.


Taggart and Magee agreed to serve for no more than 90 days and to not run for the seat if and when a special election was held. The agreement was made between the mayor and the appointees.


Some residents believe Taggart is going back on his word by seeking election to the seat he is temporarily filling. But Taggart said he felt it was his duty to run because no one else had filed papers to run against Spellman in the recall election.


“The purpose of the recall election is to have the public decide if they want the person being recalled to continue serving … and to give the public a choice other than the person being recalled,” he said. “No one came forth to run against him, so I picked up the horse and drove it.”


Taggart said he does not believe he is going against his agreement with the mayor to not run for the seat.


“The situation has changed,” he said. “I told him it was not my intention to run, and at the time that was true. But the situation has changed.”


City Clerk Diana Dykstra said Third District residents who want to be on the ballot must file paperwork by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25. Spellman automatically is on the ballot.


If two or more candidates file papers to run for office, a primary recall election would be held Dec. 22. The general recall election then would move to Jan. 19.


The recall effort started after Alderman Spyro “Speedo” Condos was appointed to the city council in late August. Many residents asked for a special election to fill the vacant seat. Many others suggested the council choose Condos to fill the position.


Almost 200 people signed a petition to recall Spellman, saying he does not vote according to the wishes of his constituents.



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