By Heather Graves
BROWN COUNTY – The Special County council meeting at the end of last month started with a small controversy as another meeting scheduled for the same time was canceled due to a lack of quorum.
â€œI would like to make an announcement that tonight on the doors of the Brown County Central Library is a notice that says tonight’s Social Services Committee meeting, scheduled for 5:30 pm, at the same time this meeting took place. started, is canceled due to a lack of quorum, â€said Joan Brusky, District 14 Supervisor and Chair of the Social Services Committee. “And I think there must be an explanation for how it happened.”
Brusky said she received a request from the county council secretary on the morning of September 15 asking for an agenda for the social services meeting on September 22 that day, due to an office vacation.
â€œI was happy to oblige,â€ she said. “So I approved the agenda, and it was on my desk and all the supervisors’ desks (the night of September 15th).”
After rejecting six redistribution maps at the county board meeting on September 15, supervisors requested more drafting, and approved a provisional public hearing on September 23, for public comment.
â€œWe discussed a subsequent redistribution meeting, and tonight (September 22) was not mentioned at all,â€ Brusky said. “It was around September 23 that we approved the motion.”
Brown County Clerk Patrick Moynihan said his office was informed the morning after the September 15 meeting that the special meeting would be held on September 22.
Brown County Code 2.13 (4) (a) reads: â€œThe County Council agenda shall be prepared by County Council staff under the direction of the Chairman of the Council. “
â€œYes, the chairman of the board sets the agendas, and the board office, under the county clerk’s organization table, puts it together and distributes it,â€ Brown County Deputy Director Jeff Flynt said.
As County Council Chairman, District 11 Supervisor Pat Buckley is responsible for setting agendas.
Brusky said she received a text on September 16 from Buckley inquiring about the social services committee.
She said the text message read: “It would make more sense to have social services after the redistribution meeting, strictly in my opinion.”
Brusky said at the time that she had no information regarding a September 22 redistribution meeting or the need to move the Social Services Committee meeting.
“And then I also thought, well, I don’t know, it doesn’t seem like I have much power, and I certainly saw the power manifested last year,” she said. . “If it’s possible to reschedule my Social Services meeting to a later date, then maybe we’ll meet at 9 or 11 tonight.” Then, when we are done, we can organize the meeting of the social services committee, as the chairman of the county administration board, or anyone with him, wants 5:30 p.m. to always be appointed for the social services committee. social services.
Brusky said Moynihan told him that the double booking raised concerns in his office, but said that “the company’s lawyer (David Hemery) weighed in on whether a meeting could not overwrite or cancel the other “. So I was like, ‘This is our answer. We’re stuck with two meetings at 5:30 p.m. ‘ “
Five supervisors sit on the social services committee, including Brusky, Megan Borchardt, Pat Evans, Emily Jacobson and Tom Sieber.
â€œAnd two supervisors who have communications at the social services meeting, so we have seven supervisors who are linked to the social services committee at exactly the same time as a special (county council) meeting,â€ Brusky said. “And we’re all going to have to make a choice, and I really wished they had to.”
When only two committee members confirmed their attendance at the committee meeting, it was canceled due to lack of quorum.
Brusky said his frustration increased when a last-minute change to the agenda for the September 22 special board meeting included a possible vote on a redistribution card.
â€œI found out (September 22) that something had been added to the agenda, that we could actually vote on tonight,â€ Brusky said. â€œAnd if we hadn’t had to cancel the committee meeting for lack of quorum, we would be stuck there and I wouldn’t be able to represent my district. So not only was I kicked out of a meeting and all of my committee members and two supervisors who had communications on the agenda, but I could be refused to represent my district and all other attendees. at this meeting. “
Moynihan confirmed that revisions were made to the agenda on the morning of September 21.
Hemery said the change on the agenda had been “properly noticed at least 24 hours before” and that the driving force for the change, he said, was to give municipalities an extra week to draw the boundaries of their neighborhoods.
â€œThe concern was that if the county council waited until September 29 to vote on a map, municipalities would only have 19 days to meet the October 18 deadline,â€ Hemery said.
The board approved a new card that night with a 14-8.
A quorum, defined by the Wisconsin state statutes as a majority of the board, is required for a vote to take place.
For the county council of 26 supervisors, that would be 14.
If the five members of the social services committee and the two supervisors with communications on the agenda had attended the committee meeting, as well as the four supervisors absent for the special county council meeting on September 22 for other reasons, the quorum would have been reached. 15 supervisors present.
All but one of the Social Services Committee members voted â€œnoâ€ on the selected card.
Brusky said the lack of communication and consideration is unacceptable.
â€œI was busy reaching out to department heads and anyone I could think would affect, even calling them at home,â€ she said. â€œPeople have other plans for tonight if they don’t go to the Social Services Committee meeting. Not to mention the people, the citizens, who were going to attend, and I understand that there would be a certain number to come for one of the communications. “
She said she could not communicate on the matter at the September 22 meeting because it was not on the agenda, “but I will do it next time, and you will know why.”
Brusky said the September 22 social services agenda items will be taken up at the October 13 meeting, which will also include the committee’s budget discussions.
Buckley has been contacted for comment for this story but has not returned any messages.