Kronenwetter activists petition for creation of Ethics Commission

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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KRONENWETTER, Wis. (WSAW) - A group of community activists in Kronenwetter are starting a petition to create an ethics commission that would regulate how village board members treat staff and members of the community.

They’re hoping to get 1,000 signatures by November 1 to present to the board. The commission is something the village had in the past.

“The Village Board, on the motion of Mr. Charneski, on May 26 of 2020 rescinded it,” said organizer Alexander Vedvik.

Vedvik says since then there are too many reported instances of board members bullying staff.

“There were statements belittling them, telling them they should only speak when spoken to, making fun of people for being a millennial,” Vedvik said.

Guy Fredel lives in Kronenwetter and says he’s attended several board meetings. He believes any disagreements were a mistaken case of spirited discussion.

“I don’t think there was a pattern of disrespectful behavior, at least that I witnessed. Now that doesn’t mean there haven’t been instances,” Fredel said.

Vedvik says the need for oversight has been building for some time.

“I’d say the straw that broke the camel’s back was when they forced out the former Village Administrator.”

As NewsChannel 7 first reported back in July, former Administrator Richard Downey was placed on administrative leave July 8. He’s been replaced by Interim Administrator Duane Gau.

Fredel said he’ll probably sign the petition, but it shouldn’t be necessary.

“A lot of this is common sense more than anything else. You should treat people with respect at all times,” Fredel said.

Vedvik said the commission would only need to meet in the case that a dispute came up.

“The concept behind the Ethics Commission is that it’s a long-lasting independent commission that would meet only as needed.

Interim Village Administrator Gau was contacted about the petition. He said it’s an effort by people in the community and he doesn’t have enough information about it to comment right now.