Two agenda items requested by Supervisor Tim McCumber to appear on the next county board meeting agenda regarding an investigation of several supervisors and the conduct of the county’s attorney have not been added to the agenda, despite having the required number of signatures per the board’s rules.
At the Jan. 7 Executive and Legislative Committee meeting, the members voted to send all allegations of misconduct and alleged illegal behavior by 11 county employees and elected officials from the county’s corporation counsel, Daniel Olson, to the district attorney. The motion also delegated subpoena power to Peter Vedro, the committee and board chairman. This would allow Vedro to send any involved person to court at the committee’s discretion.
Following the committees decision, McCumber requested that two agenda items regarding the matter be placed for possible action at the beginning of the agenda for the upcoming county board meeting on Tuesday.
The agenda items requested possible action on having Olson send the evidence of his investigation to the district attorney’s office, with a recommendation to further send the evidence to the state attorney general. The item also requested that Vedro be relieved of his subpoena power.
The second item requested that Olson be placed on paid administrative leave, pending any findings of an investigation by the attorney general’s office, which McCumber requested on Dec. 17 after filing a complaint about Olson’s conduct. The agenda item also recommended that Jim Witecha step in as interim corporation counsel.
According to the board’s rules, all proposed agenda items must be submitted in writing by 4 p.m. on the Tuesday before the next regular county board meeting, with a majority of the board requesting the item. A majority of the board would be 16 members.
Sauk County Clerk Becky Evert confirmed that 16 board members had requested the two agenda items by the deadline and the items were sent to Vedro and Olson for final approval.
Evert said that during the vetting process with herself, Vedro, Olson and Administrative Coordinator Alene Kleczek Bolin to determine the final version of the agenda, Vedro and Olson argued that the two agenda items could not be added to the agenda, and if they were added, they would be at the end of the agenda, which was not what McCumber requested.
Vedro also claimed in the meeting that he had sought outside counsel on how to handle this situation. Evert said Vedro did not give reason why he sought outside counsel, and said it is not a requirement according to the board’s rules.
“He didn’t need to,” said Evert. “The way that the board rules read in this section, there’s no reason that it shouldn’t have been put on there. They had the 16 majority, they just didn’t want it on there. They didn’t think it was legit.”
Vedro did not respond to attempts to contact him Friday.
While the two agenda items had 16 board members’ signatures as of the deadline, on Thursday Supervisor Tim Reppen requested that Evert remove his signature.
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“I just decided after thinking about it, to let the corp counsel do their job,” said Reppen.
On Friday, Supervisor John “Tony” DeGiovanni also requested that his name be removed after receiving a call from Vedro stating that four supervisors who supported the agenda items were not able to sign in support of it. DeGiovanni said he did not fully understand all aspects of the matter, and decided to withdraw his support.
“Sometimes supervisors will contact you, and make it sound like it’s a done deal and ... admittedly you don’t know much about it so you decide to sign on to their cause,” said DeGiovanni. “I got a call from Peter about it, and what they make you realize is that you don’t really know much about what’s going on.”
The removal of two supervisors’ signatures means the agenda items do not now have a majority of the board supporting them, however they did at the time of the deadline.
Evert said Vedro’s claim that people were unable to sign the petition is not true, and said she believes those asking to remove their signatures have been pressured by other supervisors to do so.
“I’ve had several board members come in that did sign, saying they were reluctant because they were afraid of the outcome,” said Evert.
The two agenda items will not appear on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting as of Friday. Supervisor Brandon Lohr has asked for the two agenda items to be considered by the entire board as an emergency determination.
“Arguably, this matter is timely and cannot wait another month as these items are already in motion,” said Lohr in a Friday email to the county clerk.
According to the board rules, a supervisor can place an item on the county board agenda for emergency determination no less than three hours prior to a scheduled board meeting. The board can then consider immediate action with a majority vote.
Evert, along with Supervisors McCumber, Wally Czuprynko, Carl Gruber and Marty Krueger were all served subpoenas, which were issued by Vedro.
Sauk County District Attorney Michael Albrecht said Friday that no criminal referral had been sent to his office regarding the matter.
The subpoenaed supervisors and Evert have retained outside legal counsel, who sent a letter to Olson on their behalf stating that they are not legally required to appear because the served subpoenas were not accompanied by payment for witness fees. In addition, the letter to Olson stated that the timeline for appearance was unreasonably short and the requests made in the subpoenas were too broad.
Olson has not returned several phone calls from the Baraboo News Republic in the past two weeks.
Follow Nicole on Twitter @Nicole_Aimone