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Three file papers to start recall process in Lake Geneva

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Kayla Bunge
September 11, 2009
— Three people have filed paperwork to take out recall petitions against three aldermen, including one who recently was appointed to fill a vacant seat and has not yet attended a city council meeting.

James Loftus, Bea Dale and Mary Zwiebel will be asking residents to sign petitions to recall Aldermen Penny Roehrer and Tom Spellman, as well as newly appointed Alderman Spyro “Speedo” Condos.


The effort to recall the aldermen started after Condos was appointed to fill the seat formerly held by Gary Dunham, who resigned in early August. Many residents called for a special election to fill the vacant seat. Many others suggested the city council choose Condos to fill the position.


The people circulating the petitions want to recall Roehrer and Spellman because, according to paperwork filed Tuesday with the city, they do not vote according to the wishes of their constituents. They want to recall Condos because he asked the city council to ignore the wishes of residents who wanted a special election to fill the vacant seat he now fills.


Loftus, a resident of the 3rd District, said the aldermen are putting the city in jeopardy.


“There’s a little clique in there, and they’re all part of the Condos group,” he said. “I understand that’s part of politics and all that … but it concerns me that they’ve gotten too much into small-town politics instead of thinking about the community.


“There’s a real stir in the city about this, and I think it’s been coming to a head,” he said.


Spellman said the allegations are baseless.


“‘Does not vote according to the wishes of his constituents.’ What does that mean? That in and of itself is an absurdity,” he said.


Spellman maintains his vote to appoint Condos to the city council was the right thing to do to move the city to the next level.


Dale, a former alderman and mayor and a resident of the 2nd District, said the Condos appointment was the last straw for her.


“I’ve always held back and kind of ignored it,” she said. “This was enough to stir the public, and I agreed and felt something had to be done.”


Roehrer said the allegations are silly.


“I don’t think she really knows how (my constituents) wanted me to vote. Maybe that’s the way she wanted me to vote,” she said, referring to Dale.


Roehrer said she originally intended to support a person other than Condos to fill the vacant seat on the city council, but she changed her mind after that person failed to speak during the meeting when Condos was appointed.


“I thought this would be the best thing for the city, to put everything behind us … and have a full council for the full term and get on with the city’s business,” she said.


Zwiebel, a resident of the 1st District, said she was upset when Condos told the city council to ignore the residents who wanted a special election to fill the vacant seat.


“That’s no different than what happened when he was mayor,” she said. “He has complete disregard for what people ask of him. He is not, I believe, the man that this city needs—in any position.”


Condos said the same people are behind this recall effort as were behind the recall effort in 2001, when he was mayor and lost his position. They’re just bullying him now, he said.


“The petition (to recall) me is a form of harassment,” he said.


State law says an elected official cannot be recalled until they have been in office for a year, he said. His term started in April, and a recall would not be possible until April 2010, he said.


“That’ll never, ever obscure my judgment,” Condos said. “I call it like I see it, and this is the bullies at work. They’re afraid of irregularities. That’s why they want us out of there.”


City Attorney Dan Draper said the residents must collect a number of signatures equal to 25 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last election in the same district as the official being recalled.


A recall election would be scheduled after signatures on the petitions are verified, barring any appeals from the incumbents.


Draper said residents in each district may file paperwork to become candidates on the recall election ballot.



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