New Berlin Fifth District Alderman Joe Poshepny missed a number of meetings due to illness. Apparently, he has been getting treatment (rehab. facility) for some injuries and dealing with other health and personal matters. He spent some time in the hospital. NewBerlinNOW reports that Poshepny sent a letter of resignation to the city on Aug. 26, but withdrew his resignation 13 days later (the date the Council planned to deal with the opening). Ald. Ted Wysocki argued for filling the seat. He contended the Fifth District “deserves representation”. It was deferred after City Attorney Mark Blum said he needed to do some research before rendering a legal opinion.
Blum has since advised that under state statutes the resignation became effective when it was received. However, Poshepny can apply to be appointed to the aldermanic post. See NewBerlinNOW report.
So, how will this play out?
It seems likely Joe Poshepny will apply.
If he does, will the Council honor the will of the people? After all, Poshepny is the person the 5th District’s voters had selected as their aldermanic representative.
Will the Council honor and respect Poshepny’s wishes? Poshepny made it clear he wants to finish his term (which expires in April).
And who else would apply for Poshepny’s seat under such circumstances? Wouldn’t he/she be viewed as taking advantage of a legal loophole to snatch an aldermanic seat from a disabled and ill but recovering senior citizen? Wouldn’t the applicant risk being labeled a selfish, heartless, opportunist?
Unlike Ted Wysocki, I live in the Fifth Aldermanic District. There are over 600 homes in my subdivision alone. None of my neighbors have expressed any concern to me about Poshephny’s meeting absences. If district residents had wanted a change in their aldermanic representation before next April, they could have circulated a petition/ launched a recall effort to oust him. No such action was taken. Wysocki should not presume to speak for us.
Wysocki conveyed residents “deserve representation” and their representative should be present to vote on issues.
Well, keep in mind that:
- New Berlin School Board Member Peggy LaSalle was absent during a June vote on the tax levy. (No excuse was given publicly for her absence.) See my blog post.
- State Rep. Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin)was gone for several months while serving in Iraq.
- State Rep. Scott Suder (R- Abbotsford) is being deployed this month to Iraq for 90-120 days. (reports the Sept. 9 MJS)
Does Wysocki think those government officials (absence) deprived/will deprive their constituents of proper “representation”?
Most people think illness and serving one’s country are valid reasons for meeting/work absences.
By the way, during my New Berlin School Board term (1999-2002), I received news via an article in the New Berlin Citizen (forerunner to NewBerlinNOW) that then-Superintendent James Benfield had accepted a superintendent job in another state. I learned he’d signed a contract with a school district there. Official acceptance of his resignation was put on the agenda of our next scheduled School Board meeting. But we got another surprise when Benfield announced at that meeting that he’d changed his mind about leaving NBPS.
Benfield, like Poshepny had changed his mind. He wanted to keep his position.
The New Berlin School Board honored Benfield’s request.