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Lake Geneva City Council finally facing quorum

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Kayla Bunge
September 23, 2009
— Mayor Bill Chesen said he had no choice but to reinstate two of the four council members he suspended Sept. 10.

"I have attorneys telling me that it's the only way we can put the city council back together," he said.


Since Chesen suspended four of the eight council members, the council hasn't had enough members to create a quorum.


Chesen on Monday rescinded the suspensions of Arleen Krohn and Penny Roehrer, and a special meeting today could be the first time in about a month the council has been able to raise a quorum and meet.


The council today was expected to take up the mayor's recommendation to appoint Larry Magee and Sturges Taggart as replacements for still-suspended council members Mary Jo Fesenmaier and Tom Spellman, respectively.


The meeting was scheduled for 2 p.m. today at City Hall, 626 Geneva St.


Chesen said he reinstated Krohn and Roehrer, as opposed to the other two, because he has faith in their ability to execute their duties as elected officials.


"Arleen and Penny, I felt, were the two of the four who I most would be able to work with and who, hopefully, would at least try to do the right thing for the city as we go through this process," he said.


Neither Krohn nor Roehrer could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.


Chesen dismissed speculation that after the council is restored to eight members he might again suspend Krohn and Roehrer and try to appoint replacements for them.


"That is not something that I would want to do," he said.


The council attempted to meet Monday afternoon to take up the appointments of Magee and Taggart, but it could not raise a quorum and was forced to adjourn. Neither the reinstated council members nor the suspended council members were present.


Attorney David Williams, who is representing Fesenmaier, Krohn, Roehrer and Spellman, said he expected at least the reinstated council members to attend today's meeting.


Chesen on Sept. 10 suspended Fesenmaier, Krohn, Roehrer and Spellman, accusing them of misconduct and violating the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. He has accused Roehrer and Spellman also of neglecting their duties.


A hearing for the charged council members had been scheduled for 6 p.m. today, but it has been postponed until a special prosecutor is appointed.


The council members have denied the charges against them, according to documents filed by their attorney Monday.


Chesen on Sept. 14 tried to appoint four people to replace the suspended council members, but the council failed to raise a quorum, putting the appointments on hold.


Williams earlier filed suit in Walworth County Court seeking reinstatement of the suspended council members and a temporary injunction to prevent Chesen from appointing replacements. The case was to be heard Tuesday, but Williams asked that it be rescheduled after learning Chesen had reinstated two council members.



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