Friday, October 21st, 2016

Know as much as your alderman


The latest big controversy in Waukesha is whether or not the aldermen should continue to receive their meeting packets via the Waukesha Police Department playing courier. Pete Kennedy attacks the issue using the Q & A format in today’s Waukesha Freeman.

Q. Why are you writing about it?

A. Aldermen are talking about it, plus I have to write about something. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about an insignificant topic. (You’ll have to go as far back as last week to confirm this.)

Q. What might change?

A. Some are proposing that the documents be delivered electronically. This would appear to make sense because the documents already are electronic – at least they were before they were printed, organized, put in an envelope and chauffeured to various locations.

Q. What if an alderman didn’t get a packet before the meeting?

A. Then he or she would be reading the background information during the meeting, which is what some of them do now. The real answer to this issue might be to not provide any packets, but allow some pre-meeting reading time.

Q. Why do aldermen still want a driver delivering the packet?

A. As Charles Lichtie put it, “I feel that we all have very busy schedules. I feel that the delivery system has worked well for us.”

Q. Has it worked well?

A. It’s gone very well for those who come to the door in their fuzzy slippers. It’s not been as convenient for those who make the deliveries.

Q. Are the delivery men and women busy too?

A. One would hope so, as they are at work.

Q. Any other reason for continuing with the current setup?

A. Alderman Steve Johnson said the delivery gives him a chance to tip off a parking checker to a violation. “These violations would otherwise go by the wayside,” Johnson said.

Q. So without that tip, the parking checker would not be writing a ticket?

A. Wrong. Without the tip, that parking checker would be somewhere else writing a ticket.

Q. As far as using the delivery as a time to talk to the parking checker, couldn’t an alderman making a visit to City Hall learn a few things? Couldn’t there be conversations there, too?

A. Yes, the aldermen could talk to others involved in running the city. One would hope those at City Hall are, in fact, full of information about the city.

Well, more or less.

There is an obvious solution. The aldermanic packet information could be posted online for everyone to read. (With any luck, the mayor might even read it, too.)

As far as the aldermen not all having access to the internet, really? In this day and age? I’m sure for far less than the cost of having the police run the packets out to the aldermen ($6,500 annually) some solution could be worked out. Otherwise the aldermen should just show up at City Hall. It’s not like they don’t have after-hours access.

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