Brunner threatens resignation, changes his mind

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
— Janesville council member George Brunner, who told council President Bill Truman after Tuesday’s meeting that he was resigning, has changed his mind.

Brunner said he threatened to resign because he didn’t believe he was being treated fairly by other council members.

Brunner said got upset when two council members made comments about a lengthy speech he gave about keeping the tax rate low.

The council on Tuesday finished its study sessions. Brunner noted, though, that several decisions had raised the tax levy, including a decision to put a police officer position back in the budget beginning in July. He doubted the officer would even be on the street next year, considering the hiring process and training.

But Brunner had not sat in on that part of the discussion when the council met the week before.

He was at the meeting but did not return from a break. Brunner, a former Janesville police chief, returned to the room after the discussion on public safety was finished.

Brunner told a reporter the next day he hadn’t felt well at that meeting. But on Tuesday he also said he felt another council member had aimed a smart remark at him. He said he watched the proceedings from an adjacent break room.

Several council members, though, wondered if Brunner excused himself because of a sharp exchange last year during the public safety discussion that involved Brunner, staff and council member Russ Steeber.

After Brunner’s remarks about the police Tuesday, Truman reminded Brunner that he “choose not to participate” in that discussion. That would have been the time to bring up any discussion, he said.

Steeber made a similar comment.

Truman later said he had been “stewing” about Brunner’s absence during the meeting all week.

Truman said Brunner told him he would “have (Brunner’s) resignation in the morning.”

“I said I’d gladly accept it,” Truman said.

But Brunner, contacted at home later by a reporter, said he had reconsidered.

Last updated: 11:41 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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