A Janesville City Council candidate has filed a complaint with the district attorney’s office claiming the council violated the state’s open-meetings law Monday night.

Jeff Navarro, who’s seeking a council seat in the spring election April 3, attended Monday’s meeting and spoke during a public comment period. As a Monterey Dam Association member, he said the city doesn’t have the permits necessary to remove the dam.

At the end of the public comment period, City Manager Mark Freitag spoke about the dam removal process at the request of council President Doug Marklein. He disputed Navarro’s comments.

Navarro said Freitag’s dam discussion violated the state’s open-meetings law, and he filed a complaint Tuesday.

During every council meeting, Freitag gives a “city manager update” after the public comment period in which he talks about what’s happening in the city. The agenda item doesn’t explain what Freitag will discuss, but slide presentations attached to council agendas give an idea of what will be covered.

Freitag’s comments Monday about the dam weren’t part of his update. They occurred at the end of the public comment period but before his update began.

Under state statutes, government officials cannot use public comment time to speak as private citizens, and items not on the agenda cannot be discussed, Navarro said.

At the meeting, Councilman Jens Jorgensen said the discussion should be put on a later agenda so the public would have proper notice. He asked for that to occur in the future. Marklein noted his concerns.

Councilman Rich Gruber said he considered Freitag’s comments to be part of his regular update. Gruber said he appreciated the information Freitag shared.

Navarro said he is awaiting the district attorney’s response to his complaint.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse