Town and Village Board Joint Meetings Regarding Fire Department

  Fire Commission



February 23, 2011 @ 7:00 PM

Board Attendance: Interim Village President Laurel Finger, Town Chairman Dave Blank, Town 1st Supervisor Nancy Schlender, Town 2nd Supervisor Chuck Burkholz, Village Trustee Randy Roberts, Village Trustee Joe Roberts.

The joint meeting was called to order by Laurel Finger at 7:03 pm.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Fire Department/EMR Agreement: Kris Kohlhoff explained that the Fire Department has had a number of issues regarding bookkeeping that have come up and therefore prompt her to draft an agreement between the Village/Town and the Fire Department to hopefully resolve some of the issues. Each board member was provided a copy and Kris read the agreement aloud. She further explained each paragraph and why she drafted these items into this agreement. The agreement was open for discussion with board members only. It was stated they were not taking citizen's comments regarding the agreement.

Laurel requested that a date be set as to when to pay the funds. It was agreed by both Town and Village to pay quarterly. It was agreed to pay the 10th of the month at each beginning of each quarter.

Kris explained that she had the auditors in this week and had them look at the agreement. She read aloud their written statement regarding this agreement. It was stated that Kris needs to be provided all information regarding invoices, bills, etc. because of the Village's yearly audit. She explained she would need monthly records from the fire department. This would include copies of invoices and checks that paid the item because Kris explained she will then enter the information into the Village system for the yearly audits the Village is required to have.

Question about what program the Fire Department is using. Quickbooks is the program the fire department will be using.

Comment made about the 10th of the month being changed to the 15th of the month to avoid any overlap with approval from the board prior to disbursements.

The boards agreed and changed the due date from the 10th to the 15th of the month.

Fire Chief, John Haase explained to the board that when donations are made he currently combines those funds with the Life Quest funds. In order to withdraw funds from Life Quest it is required to have board's approval.

John explained he would like to open a separate account for donations. By creating a separate account he will not need board's approval to withdraw funds and can fill the donors request on what to purchase.

Nancy explained that the Life Quest account was supposed to be used as a savings account to possibly purchase a truck in the future. She recalled this was a request from the Fire Commission.

Question about if the municipalities have funds put aside for purchasing a truck in the future. Village does have an account, Town does not.

Question about what is 2% monies. John explained that 2% monies are used for education and safety. These monies come from the state and have regulations about what the Fire Department is allowed to spend those funds on.

The boards agreed to set up a separate donations account that does not need board approval.

It was requested that a report be drafted from the Fire Chief, Town Chairman, and Village President to be presented to the boards if there is going to be a purchase using Life Quest funds.

John explained he will be breaking down in detail reports to the boards on monies spent vs. budget. It was discussed that the budget should also be broken down in more detail going forward.

It was explained that purchases over $1500.00 should go before a joint board meeting. Anything under $1500.00 John agreed to prepare a report to individual boards and get a signature from Town Chair and Village President at a regularly scheduled meeting.

The boards also explained to John that any purchases, even if budgeted over $1500.00 would need board approval.

John explained that the 2011 budget was the most detailed budget he has ever produced. He explained for the next 2 or 3 years he would like put any extra funds back into the department expenditures.

Kris explained that expenses from 2010 do not coincide with his budget for 2011. John explained he pulled the budget numbers “out of the air” because he has never been provided figures in the past.

John explained his concern about not having funds for a grant. Laurel explained the municipalities' board members of today realize that the town/village must apply funds to receive a grant.

Discussion was held regarding any leftover funds a/k/a unspent budgeted funds. It was agreed by the boards to go into an equipment fund a/k/a Life Quest fund for the Fire Department.

Question about putting the Life Quest Fund into a higher yielding account to earn more interest. The Fire Department Bookkeeper will be responsible for checking into further.

The boards agreed that John is to have a prepared budget to the boards 1 month prior to the joint board meeting for review.

The boards agreed to review this agreement at the annual budget meeting with the fire department or on an “as needed basis”.

John questioned the boards regarding the fire department runs and wages not being handed over to the Fire Department.

It was explained that runs and wages are paid on an “as happens basis”, therefore continuing the same procedure set where John submits the runs/wages to the Town/Village clerks for reimbursement will be continued.

John explained he would like to put together a 5 and 10 year plan for the boards review in the future.

John questioned the board about having purchase orders presented to the boards. Both boards did not feel it was necessary for them to see every purchase order the fire department makes. It was further recommended to the Chief he keep a purchase order book for his department's own records.

Question about bookkeeper's hours and pay. Michelle would like to be paid monthly with a maximum of $600.00 yearly.

Kris explained she will retype the agreement with changes and provide copies to both boards for the next meetings.

John questioned about reimbursing members $65.00 for test they take.

Laurel explained that she would like tests reimbursed to the volunteers willing to take the time to do the tests. The boards agreed and John can reimburse for test taking.

NOX BOXES - John explained that other municipalities currently have Nox Boxes because of business' having fire alarms and if the business is closed or no one is on the premise this box would be a master key to the business for the fire department to have access to business 24/7. The fire department puts the Nox box high on a pole therefore vandals cannot have access to the box.

The fire department would have one master key to all Nox Boxes in Clyman. It would be the business responsibility to provide the fire department with a master key to the business.

The boards agreed rather than requiring every businesses be required to obtain a Nox Box which requires the municipalities to create an ordinance that the Fire Chief or the Fire Inspector approach the business' in the area and see how many are willing participate.

Question about if the municipality can be mandated to have a Nox Box on new structures. Kris said she will ask the building inspector if this is something that can be put on a building permit.

The boards also agreed to supporting the idea of getting Nox Boxes for local business' and both Town/Village will be putting a message in the spring newsletters.

OPEN RECORDS REQUEST - It was noted that the Village and Town of Clyman each received an open records request from Michelle Decono and are filling the request. Chris Spilker explained she contacted Dave Beal because the boards were not provided with a copy of the request received by the Fire Commission.

Michelle was present and provided a copy to the boards of the Fire Commission Open Records Request.

Kris explained the Village was not provided a lot of information therefore had no problem filling the request.

Dave Blank explained Amy Nehls is no longer the clerk and Dave Beal is requesting this go before an attorney.

Michelle explained she as a taxpayer wants to know why the Village was not included in all emails yet made decisions regarding the Fire Commission.

Discussion was held regarding the request made by Michelle Decono, specifically the request made to the Fire Commission.

Dave Blank explained Dave Beal Fire Commission Member was asking the boards to allow the Fire Commission to seek legal counsel regarding their open records request. Dave Beal was contacted by phone and put on speaker phone to address the board members with his request to seek legal counsel.

Dave Beal questioned paragraph about referring to missing minutes.

Chuck explained that he posted the minutes for the meetings for the months the fire commission did have meetings. Michelle explained that the website shows months with minutes and month without anything. She just wants something in writing explaining the Fire Commission did not meet in the months that do not list minutes.

Michelle explained that she sent a letter to Amy knowing she is no longer the Fire Commission clerk but still was part the emails and correspondence with the Fire Chief, Fire Commission Members, Town/Village Board and Town/Village Clerks therefore that is why the request was sent directly to her.

It was explained to Dave Beal (via phone) that the board members felt there was no just cause to contact an attorney regarding the Fire Commission's open records request and he should fill the request and have it done within the 30 day deadline.

AWNING - The awning on the Town Hall was destroyed by snow. Chris S. had the awning removed by Hometown. The Village currently holds the insurance policy for the Town Hall. The boards agreed to switch the insurance from the Village to the Town.

Joe/Nancy made motion to have the insurance for the Town Hall transferred from the Village insurance over to the Town's insurance. Motion carried.

Laurel/Joe made motion to adjourn at 9:40 pm. Motion carried.

Respectfully Submitted,

Chris Spilker-Town Clerk

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November 2, 2009 - 6:30 PM

The joint meeting between the Village and Town Boards of Clyman was called to order at 6:30 PM by Clyman Village President Jeff Wagner with Laurel Finger, Randy Roberts, Lorrie Hartman and Ed Wolff present for the Village and Town Chairman Dave Blank, Nancy Schlender and Chuck Burkholz present for the Town. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the 2010 budgets for the Fire Department and First Responders and to swear in members of the joint Fire Commission.

Fire Department Budget

With regard to the Wage portion of the budget, discussion was held on the Fire Commission per diems and the accountant expenditures for preparation of the payroll. It was decided to add $350 for the accountant expenditures and $3800 for the Fire Commission Expenditures making the wage portion $11,900. Motion by Laurel/Dave to approve. Motion carried.

Motion by Laurel/Nancy to approve the Education portion in the amount of $8,500. Motion carried. Motion by Nancy/Ed to approve the Communications portion in the amount of $8,000. Motion carried. Motion by Randy/Laurel to approve the equipment portion of $8,000. Motion carried. Motion by Dave/Randy to approve the medical testing in the amount of $1,000. Motion carried. Motion by Dave/Laurel to approve the miscellaneous expenses in the amount of $2,000. Motion carried.

Total recommended Fire Department Budget for 2010 is $39,400. If the percentage contribution amounts remain the same, the Village portion would be $9,456 (24%) and the Town's portion would be $29,944 (76%).

Discussion held on the outstanding bill for the fire truck tank repair. This matter is currently being investigated by Atty. Griggs due to this happening just after the warranty on the truck ran out and it was felt that this was a manufacturer's liability problem. The current outstanding repair bill of the truck is $9,581.95. Discussion held on possibly using the funds received by the Lifequest Collection Account to pay this bill if needed. To date, approximately $6,000 has been received for these monies. Motion by Dave/Laurel to approve. Motion carried.

First Responders Budget

Question was raised as to the number of officers they currently want to be paid. Coordinator Marty Pint advised that there are currently 14 members so the ratio of officers to members right now is 4-10. The fire department ratio is 4-36. Marty advised that they no longer have a secretary and questioned if they need one to take minutes. Fire Chief John Haase advised that they do not need a secretary provided someone records what type of drills they do. Dave Blank indicated that he has a problem with the new Captain and Lieutenant positions for the First Responders. He indicated that if the Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator are not there, there would still be a fire officer or crew chief on the scene. Lorrie indicated that often times the first person on the scene does not want to take control. Amy Nehls advised that it would be a senior officer scene and felt that this officer structure would be top heavy for the First Responders. Dave indicated that First Responders are trained to operate on their own but that transport needs a minimum of 2 people. The positions of Captain and Lieutenant were established this year and at the present time are not paid positions.

Question was raised as to what is the necessity of these positions. It was felt that the wages could be put into the budget and then the Fire Commission could decide whether to keep the positions since they will be reviewing and deciding on command structure. Laurel indicated that she has a problem with the pay increase for the Asst. Coordinator. Ed pointed out that if the Asst. Coordinator was kept at $200, he would be making less than the Captain and Lieutenant. When asked what the Assistant Coordinator does, Marty advised that this position does training. He advised that at times they need 3 training officers to critique drills, especially when they are trying to simulate double accident scenes. The Asst. Coordinator could also keep the notes since the secretary is being eliminated. Nancy felt that the salaries should be kept as they are and left for the commission to decide.

Discussion held as to the need for another radio.

Motion by Chuck/Ed to approve the First Responder budget in the amount of $17,016. Motion carried. If the percentage ratios remain the same, the Village would be responsible for $4,084 (24%) and the Town would be responsible for $12,932 (76%).

Fire Commission Introductions - Dave Beal of the Juneau Fire Department, Tom Anfinson of Horicon, Tim Whitham of the Johnson Creek Fire Department and Gene Grulke of the Theresa Fire Department introduced themselves to the Boards.

After the introductions, these members were sworn in by Kris. Tim Whitham is appointed to a 3 year term for the Town. Gene is appointed to a 2 year term and Dave Beal is appointed to a one year term for the town. Ron Woock is appointed to a two year term and Tom Anfinson is appointed to a one year term representing the Village. This will provide for a rotating system.

Motion by Dave/Laurel to adjourn the joint meeting. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted:

Kris Kohlhoff




August 26, 2009

Clyman Village Hall

Present for the Village of Clyman - President Jeff Wagner, Trustees Laurel Finger, Randal Roberts, Ed Wolff, and Lorrie Hartman

Present for the Town of Clyman - Chairman Dave Blank, Supervisors Nancy Schlender and Chuck Burkholz

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Village President Jeff Wagner. The purpose of the special meeting was to possibly take control of the Fire Department and First Responders until such time as a fire commission can be established for the purpose of among other things, reviewing procedures and policies and conducting disciplinary actions of said departments, as well as possibly freezing any actions presently being taken by any fire department personnel until such time as a fire commission can be established according to Wisconsin Statutes and also possibly taking control of the all financial records and obligations of the fire department until such time as a fire commission can be established. The Boards felt that this meeting was necessary so that the fire safety of the town and village residents would not be jeopardized due to actions possibly being taken within the fire department.

Village President Jeff Wagner read the agenda item. He advised the citizens and residents in attendance that this meeting is just going to be a discussion among the Boards. Jeff thanked the Boards for attending. He advised that he felt there was impending danger to the fire department and that is why the meeting was called. It is possible that everything will be frozen to the status as prior to this special meeting.

Town Chairman Dave Blank advised that he did some checking on this and feels that the Boards have the right take control of the Fire department and EMS. Looking at the Fire Department Constitution and Bylaws, there are so many gray areas. New documents need to be written. He feels that a fire commission needs to be established.

If the Boards take control and abolish the current by-laws and constitution, they can also establish new by-laws and a constitution.

Nancy Schlender explained that at the last monthly town board meeting, a resolution was on the agenda regarding forming the fire commission. She feels that the Fire Commission at that time should never have been on the agenda because this was combined with the issues concerning Marty Pint and Dave Decono. That is why she voted against it at that time. She feels that there is much going on in the department that people don't know about.

Chuck Burkholz - At the last town board meeting, regarding the fire commission, he was feeling under the gun, did not feel he had enough information and did not feel comfortable voting in favor of it. He can now see the need for it and is in support of it.

Lorrie Hartman - This meeting is about taking over the Fire Department until the commission is established. She is opposed to taking control of the Department. She feels the Fire Department and First Responders are acting under their by-laws and constitution. She feels this is happening because Dave Blank has the letter outstanding regarding his position with the department and is scheduled to be out of the area for the next few weeks.

Laurel Finger - Feels that a commission has been needed for a long time. The Village had many problems with the Police Dept and once the Police Commission was established, the problems dropped off. She feels that it is back and forth constantly within the department with if you do this you'll leave, if you don't do this, you'll leave. Felt the Fire Department is a good department and needs to move beyond this and establishing this commission is the only way this will get this taken care of.

Randy Roberts - Randy indicated that he consulted with an attorney on his own to have the bylaws and constitution looked at as they are now and was there for several hours. Basically the attorney said these documents need to be updated severely. As they stand now there is no control over anything or anybody. He suggested shredding the current by-laws and constitution and start from scratch. Come up with some that are acceptable and go from there. The current ones mean nothing from a legal stand point. He has been a member of the fire department for over 30 years and he feels that a commission would work wonders.

Ed Wolff - Ed questioned that if we vote to establish a fire commission, can they come in and start from where the Boards froze everything. Jeff said they will inherit the department and the bylaws as they are now. They will have to redo them. Ed feels this is a very petty thing and the Boards are spending a lot of money to take care of this.

Nancy Schlender stated that during the closed session, Chief Haase advised of other issues that were involved, however, at the Monday (August 24, 2009) meeting, the Boards had to stick with the issues at hand. The people have only heard one side.

Ed Wolff feels that a lot of people are not hearing the matters from both sides. Dave Blank asked Ed if he spoke personally to Chief Haase about the matter and Ed indicated that he did not as he did not have time.

Dave Blank also indicated that he has spent a lot of time on this. Dave feels that he has to justify to his constituents how this truck got damaged. Dave feels that it is the Chief's decision to do the reprimand and if the Chief wants to sit down with the Marty and Dave to throw it out that is the Chief's decision. Dave stated that there are a lot of things that are happening that the Chief is not aware of. Dave advised that 6 or 7 years ago, at a Town Board meeting, he was advised by the Town Chairman, who was also the assistant fire chief to move a fire truck to make room for the meeting attendance and when he did so, it did sustain damage.

Ed Wolff feels that this matter should have been handled differently. He would probably ask them to pay for the truck. He stated that Dave Decono was not even in the truck. Ed stated that Chief Haase admitted that the truck has been used many times without him knowing. Ed feels that this matter needs to be shored up with the bylaws and constitution.

Dave Blank advised that the meeting concerning the letter he received will be called within 10 days. He stated that he asked for a continuance because he is on vacation and it was denied. He feels he is being denied due process because he cannot be there to defend himself. Dave admitted that he doesn't care about the Association Presidency. He doesn't know what he or Chief Haase have done that would be conduct unbecoming an officer. Things have gone on in the Fire Department that the Chief is not aware of. At the last Fire Department meeting (August 11, 2009), three members took a leave of absence because of what was happening. There was another pager that was turned in but no one knew who's it was. It turned out to be Bobbi Niemuth's making it appear that she had quit the Department. Thursday morning, (August 20, 2009), she was working at the fair. Three officers were there with her at the fair, Capt. Decono, Lt. Pint and Lt. Hartman. Dave feels that because she had previously handed in her pager, that she was impersonating a First Responder. She put the town and village at risk by being there. He feels that this is where it is going by things happening without letting the chief know. Dave has to answer why the trucks are out and who is paying for the fuel for that. Dave feels that it was lucky that that was all that happened to the truck.

Ed Wolff feels that he would have liked to see the officers hash this out prior to it coming to the Boards.

Dave Blank said that it was discussed in a meeting but feels that Chief Haase did not feel satisfied with the meeting. All members know the chain of command. The chief shall have command of the department at all times and all members shall obey his orders.

Ed indicated that he felt Dave and Marty were doing something for the dept. He has never heard of the other issues involved with these members.

Dave Blank indicated that Marty sent First Responders that live out of the district to the WEMSA conference after being advised that he was not to send out of district members to any conferences.

Jeff Wagner - The commission would bring the bylaws and constitution up to date. There are a lot of emotions going on. He feels it would be best to freeze it for now, and forget about the business issue. Keep the business side on pause and keep the statutory items going.

Nancy Schlender indicated that everyone is being pulled in all directions and the First Responders and Fire Department need to pull themselves together and to get the harmony back on track again. Don't be afraid to talk. Jeff indicated that his cell phone has been ringing off the hook regarding this issue.

Jeff Wagner then opened a letter that was addressed to him personally that had been left in the box outside the village hall. Inside was $1300 with a note that indicated the money was to be used to pay for the truck. It was from an anonymous person.

Discussion of the fire commission was held. The Fire Chief would bring the items to the commission and it was felt that a member of the fire department could serve on the committee. Dave Blank thanked the person that donated the money. Let the Fire Department save the community and work together as they have in the past.

Village President Jeff Wagner advised this matter is a municipal issue so everyone on the Boards can vote.

Dave Blank advised that the commission will be a benefit and will be able to come up with a due process procedure. They will establish how the due process will work. Dave feels that the Boards pulled the rug out from under Chief Haase. Ed advised that they stood behind the chief. Dave felt that had Ed spoke with Chief Haase personally, the Chief could have filled Ed in more.

Lorrie Hartman questioned if Dave was given until after he returned from his trip, would he throw taking over the department out. Lorrie indicted that this is about freezing a good department. Dave indicated the he will not drop it. He indicated that a good man is getting railroaded that has given his heart to the department.

Nancy Schlender indicated that there is a power struggle going on and this needs to stop. Ed indicated that Dave had made a comment of being railroaded and he does not want Chief Haase to be voted out of his position. Tempers are flaring and this is not healthy as a community, or board. Someone has paid for the truck and this should take care of it. This has been blown out of proportion.

Lorrie Hartman indicated that she has no opposition to a commission. Freezing this now would keep everything in place and the commission should be done by the December election.

The association is a private entity and this would not freeze that. This only involves the Fire Department. The letter to the chief freezes but the letter to Dave Blank probably would not. Dave does not understand how he wronged the people of the department. He advised that the Federal Identification Number (FIN) being used by the Department is under the village number. The Fire Department is incorporated as an association, so they need to get their own FIN to operate.

Jeff Wagner advised that the Fire Chief, Town Chairman and Village President took possession of the Fire Department checking accounts until the Fire Department gets its own FIN number. The bills will still be paid.

Dave Blank advised that Cindy Roberts has left the Department and was a top First Responder. Randy Key took leave so he is not available as a First Responder.

Ed Wolff feels that the Boards are being asked to control something he knows nothing about. The biggest concern is what happens in between time.

Jeff Wagner indicated that the worst case scenario would be to abolish the Fire Department but the Boards don't want to do that. That would be the only thing left if this doesn't work. There have been cases where this has happened.

Dave Blank indicated that the Department will have input in writing the by-laws and the Boards are trying to find people that have Fire Department experience to serve on this commission. Jeff Wagner advised how well the police commission has worked for the village. The village has accepted the recommendation of a fire commission.

Dave Blank asked what the firemen are hiding if they are afraid of the commission. Ed asked how you would have the commission control the issues on hand. Ed indicated that he doesn't feel Chief Haase should be removed. They should have worked it out. He doesn't want it to appear that a group signing a paper can get rid of anyone. There is a precedent of what has happened in the past but he doesn't want to set a precedence going forward that a piece of paper can get rid of a person.

The Fire Commission would probably consist of 5 members - 2 appointed representatives from each municipality and one from the department. Question raised as to what is going to happen to the items currently on the table. Dave Blank indicated that it would fall under the Chief's authority and he feels that the Chief is going to sit down and discuss this with Dave Decono and Marty Pint. It is the Chief's decision, he could throw it all out or uphold everything. Dave Blank can vouch that this is weighing on the families. Ed asked if this was out of the Chief's hands and was advised that it is not. To have due process there has to be a fire commission. Without a fire commission, there is no way to technically appeal any matters. Dave explained what due process is - get written up, go to the Fire Commission, and then go to the Boards. Question raised as to what is going to happen to the two involved. This would be John's decision.

Chuck Burkholz stated that the Boards agreed to back the chief, he has already issued the reprimand and now it is up to him if he wants to have a meeting with the individuals involved.

Discussion held on what would be froze, the action on Monday night, or the letters that came into play. What happened on Monday is back in the Chief's hands. Basically the command structure would be frozen. The Town will readdress the issue of enacting a fire commission. This will be on their next agenda. The Village has withheld acting on their resolution. Question was raised if the fire commission would incorporate the department structure. The fire commission would inherit the current positions and the boards will need to look at the rest of the structures.

Randy Roberts stated that at the most recent truck fire, he has not seen unity in the department like that in 15 to 20 years. It would be great if everyone could be like that at all times, everything worked great and everyone worked together. He feels he is willing to put personal issues aside and hopes that everyone else is also. He feels that the best way to go about this is to have an independent group. He still admires Jim Steffen as a chief because you knew what was what. Nowadays you need to spell everything out in writing. The current bylaws and constitution have no teeth. That most recent call proved to Randy that there are people willing to work together. The only way it is going to work is if everybody works together.

Nancy Schlender wants to see the department get back together as a group. Laurel agreed with Nancy. She feels the fire department has a wonderful team. Mesh this together and move forward.

Dave Blank feels that it was a great honor to be elected president of the Fire Association and it was an honor to see how the people pulled together for the anniversary. People worked together and he was proud of everyone. Clyman's queen won the county queen and now look where we are today.

He is begging that depending on how the vote goes tonight, that people do not turn their pagers in. Ed stated that if we vote on this motion, we are pretty much agreeing on having a commission. The Town Board feels that they are much more educated now regarding the commission. Stan Jones asked what is different now than when they heard from their constituents. Nancy Schlender indicated that the commission discussion and the incident discussion were all intertwined and feels that it was not appropriate to vote for it at that time.

Jeff Wagner indicated that sometimes Boards don't go with the popular vote. Nancy indicated that she would like to thank the person that prepared the packet for the Board members that they received on Monday evening expressing the need to have a Fire Commission.

Ed Wolff indicated that he felt that the Boards should wait on the vote until after the meeting with Chief Haase and the members involved in the incident.

Randy Roberts indicated that with what happened on Monday night, there is nothing in the fire department documents that allows the department to legally make a decision. He indicated that the last time the bylaws and constitution were updated was 1993. Randy stated that he was involved with the last updates that have not been adopted yet and they also do not have any teeth to them. These documents need to be updated on a regular basis. Randy indicated that the members do not know any better in drafting these. The department should have an attorney review the by-laws and constitution. He wants to see this straightened and wants this to work. He feels we should stop it now and go forward from this point. This isn't going to happen over night.

Charlie Kingman asked why both sets (the punishment and letters) are not being frozen by the Fire Department and suggested starting over. Jeff Wagner indicated that they did not want to get involved with the Chief's decision. Ed asked again if everything gets frozen.

Dawn Pint indicated that Chief Haase told Marty and Dave Decono that it has to go back to the Boards. Ed indicated that this issue needs to be done.

Pam Hewitt indicated she wants to feel safe. Jeff Wagner explained to her that things will remain the same and she can feel safe.

Motion by Nancy Schlender that Boards take control of the Fire Department and First Responders until such time as a fire commission can be established for the purpose of among other things, reviewing procedures and policies and conducting disciplinary actions of said departments, as well as possibly freezing any actions presently being taken by any fire department personnel until such time as a fire commission can be established according to Wisconsin Statutes and also possibly taking control of the all financial records and obligations of the fire department until such time as a fire commission can be established.

Seconded by Laurel Finger.

Roll call vote taken as follows:

Dave Blank - Town of Clyman - Yes

Nancy Schlender - Town of Clyman - Yes

Chuck Burkholz - Town of Clyman - Yes

Lorrie Hartman - Village of Clyman - No

Laurel Finger - Village of Clyman - Yes

Randy Roberts - Village of Clyman - Yes

Ed Wolff - Village of Clyman - Undecided

Jeff Wagner announced that the motion currently on the floor has 5 yes votes, 1 no vote and 1 undecided. The motion has been carried.

Motion by Dave Blank, seconded Laurel Finger to adjourn. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 7:50 PM.

Respectfully submitted:

Kris Kohlhoff

Village of Clyman Clerk




August 24, 2009 - 6:00 PM

This meeting was held at the Clyman Lions Hall due to the large number of citizens in attendance

Present for the Village of Clyman - President Jeff Wagner, Trustees Laurel Finger, Randal Roberts, Ed Wolff, and Lorrie Hartman

Present for the Town of Clyman - Chairman Dave Blank, Supervisors Nancy Schlender and Chuck Burkholz

Also in attendance representing the Boards was Attorney Andrew Griggs. There were also a number of village and town residents and citizens in attendance at the meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 6:05 PM by Village President Jeff Wagner. Jeff then turned the meeting over to Attorney Andy Griggs.

Attorney Griggs went through the rules that will be adhered to at the meeting.

Town resident Dan Chaveriat asked if the audience could be allowed an explanation of the issue. Attorney Griggs advised that this would be accomplished with the testimonies of the persons involved, Marty Pint, Dave Decono and Fire Chief John Haase.

Marty Pint spoke first and advised that on July 3, 2009, he took the newest fire department truck and went to Dave Decono's to get posts for the purpose of putting up signs for the Firemen's anniversary celebration. He indicated that he hit the well casing at Dave's house and put a dent in the truck. He then called Chief Haase's house however the Chief was not home and the Chief's wife, Sherry, took the call. Dave Decono then called the Chief's cell phone and left a message. The Chief called back approximately an hour later and Marty told him of the incident.

Dave Decono indicated that the Chief told Marty to call the town clerk to see about going through insurance with the incident. Dave indicated that he was not in the truck at the time of the accident but was actually in his basement working and came up when told of the accident.

Chief John Haase gave his report of how the accident happened. He indicated that he received a call about 9:45 AM and was told of the accident. On July 8, 2009, Chief John Haase and Assistant Fire Chief Randy Nehls met with Dave Decono and Marty Pint regarding the incident and had them fill out an accident report. Dave and Marty indicated that they were out hanging banners for the anniversary. Dave and Marty were questioned why they were using Fire Dept. equipment to hang banners since the anniversary involved was an association issue. Chief Haase indicated to Dave and Marty that he was going to report this issue to the Boards since they own the equipment. Chief Haase then met with the Boards on July 22 in closed session and explained the incident and asked what should be done. At that time, Chief Haase informed the Boards that they were only hearing one side of the issue. It was decided by the Boards at that meeting that Marty would be responsible for the damages and that the Boards would leave it up to Chief Haase to issue the rest of the reprimand. Chief Haase drafted a letter with the reprimand and presented it to Attorney Griggs for approval prior to the letters being sent out. Chief Haase indicated that when he spoke with Atty. Griggs concerning the letters, he asked if they could sit down with Marty and Dave to try to work this out and Atty. Griggs advised against it, which brings about the meeting now.

Dave Decono indicated that after informing Chief Haase about the incident, they did not immediately return to the station with the truck, but continued to use it after the accident because they didn't realize they should get the truck back immediately. Dave Decono indicated that the Chief, Assistant Chief and the two involved met to discuss the matter. Dave feels that they were never led down the path that the Boards were directing the Chief to take this action. Dave also indicated that he felt both him and Marty should have been allowed to be at the Board meeting so that some other action could possibly have taken place. During their meeting with the Chiefs, they were under the impression that they had the option of what could be done internally with the Fire Department to rectify the situation. Dave indicated that he felt that the association has the possibility of paying for the damage to the truck. In the letter of reprimand it stated that the damages would be paid for personally and not be paid by the association.

Citizens and residents that signed up to speak were then allowed to make comments.

Joe Hasslinger indicated the he is aware of two other incidents that had happened when he was on the town board where a fire truck was damaged and those incidents were not handled in the way this one is being done. He indicated that it is a volunteer Fire Department and this is going against them in a bad way.

Ron Rettschlag - He is a 50 year member of the Fire Department. Ron talked about Dave Decono and the experience that Dave has with the department.

Chris Lamp - He has been a member on the department between 15 and 20 years. He went through a day in the life of a Firefighter and First Responder. He felt this matter was tearing the department apart. He apologized to the Boards for this incident getting that far. He feels that this is a communication issue and hopes that the Boards will direct this back at the department to fix.

Jean Ross - This has been brought about by a conflict of interest and should be taken back to the department.

Alan Rettschlag - He has been a Firefighter for 43 years and nothing has ever been blown out of proportion like this issue. These are two dedicated Firefighters. He doesn't know how it got this far. The Fire Fighters put thousands of dollars back into the department.

Ron Lenius - The grass rig has been used by other members in the department for non-departmental uses. This is being taken out of proportion. There have been other incidents like watering the grass where the truck has been used without permission.

Mark Mayer - He was fortunate to be on a scene with Marty and Dave and based his voting for these individuals on how they respond to incidents. They are allowed to take control over the scene but yet they can't take control of a truck and what they are going to use it for.

Bobbie Niemuth - It is important to know that the damage was cosmetic. The department should have been able to vote on this matter. These two involved have helped her with everything.

Doug Hartman - Agrees with what everyone has said and wants the Boards to be fair. He does not feel justice is being done to Marty and Dave. He feels the precedent has been set previously. He feels they are getting railroaded and it stinks.

Bob White - Thanked all the firefighters for the job that they do. He feels this is so far off base. The firefighters all dedicate their time. The truck is not inoperable. The department will have a tough time finding volunteers if they have to worry about equipment damage. The Association and Fire Department should not be segregated. He feels the people present represent a show of support of the Fire Fighters.

Amy Nehls - Amy went through her reasons for being here, as a daughter supporting her dad, the Chief, and as a representative of Emergency Management. Nobody is denying the Fire Fighters are the best group of volunteers. She explained that the Boards need to realize the liability issue involved with this situation. The Association helps with resources however the Boards face the liability. If the Boards don't take responsibility for this matter, they open themselves up to liability. It's a letter in Dave and Marty's fire department personnel file. She also indicated that most departments have commissions to handle these types of things. She as a tax payer is not going to pay for any lawsuit.

Scott Nehls - Chris Lamp said this should not have been brought to the Boards. The Chief brought this to the Boards. Without a commission what does the Chief bring to the Boards and what does he not bring to the Boards.

Michelle Decono -She has been told that what happens stays within the department. Other damages to the trucks have happened during non-fire department business without any consequences. She feels that Dave & Marty put in a lot of time for the department. They brought in more members. She feels that everyone looks to Dave & Marty for guidance because they can be trusted and do the job. She feels this is not about the truck but is a personal issue.

Dick Henriott - Has been on the dept since 1965. He can never remember a truck going out without the Chief not knowing. He feels there is a need to write new by-laws.

Gerald Uselman - Moved here 2 years ago. If the Chief cannot handle the matter internally, then the department should get rid of the Chief.

Beth Baehmann - She came fact finding. She does not know any of the people here. She came from Ixonia and is used to small town Fire Departments. She would like to know what the reprimand is. She felt that because we are here for a dent in the truck is embarrassing and can't believe that this is going on. There are flaws in the Fire Department and the protocol. She does not feel that she wants to get involved with the department as it is now. She feels that all involved need to step back and offer up some forgiveness. She needs the Fire Fighters on her side if her house goes up in flames. There has to be some leeway - don't split hairs over this.

Harvey Zeman - Been in Clyman for 50 years and was on the Fire Department for a number of years. He does appreciate the training they go through and appreciates the Boards also. He feels we have the best department in the county. Common sense should be used to get this resolved.

Randy Nehls - Assistant Fire Chief - The operation of the Fire Department is based on the incident command system. The Chief is at the top of the ladder and is responsible for all the members and equipment and from there, must answer to the village and town people. The equipment has to be taken care of. There are rules and regulations that are in the organization and they need to be followed. There is a fine line between the truck being used for fire and EMS and the 100th anniversary. We need to as members keep the Chief informed when using equipment.

Charles Kingman - Wants to know what the reprimand is as the people are only hearing rumors. He would like to hear some facts. He asked if the Association and Fire Department coincide.

Debbie Green - They did not hide the fact that they scratched the truck.

Attorney Griggs then read the letter of reprimand issued to Marty Pint and Dave Decono which are as follows:

August 7, 2009

TO: Dave Decono, Captain, Clyman Fire Dept.

FROM: John Haase, Fire Chief, Clyman Fire Dept.

RE: Letter of Reprimand

Dear Dave:

This letter is to inform you that a letter of reprimand will be put into your personnel file for an incident which occurred on Friday, July 3, 2009. The incident that I am referring to is your being a part of taking and using a fire pickup truck #1781 that belongs to the Village of Clyman and Town of Clyman without proper authorization to do so. Truck #1781 was taken and used for something that was not fire related in any way and because of an error in judgment it resulted in the truck receiving damages in excess of $1,000.00.

For conduct unbecoming of a Fire Department Officer you are being placed on Probation for One year effective immediately and this letter will remain in your personnel file indefinitely. If after one year you have not had any further incidents you will be taken off of probation.

If you are interested in appealing this decision you must request in writing an appeals meeting of the Town and Village Boards. You have 15 days from the date listed above to submit your appeal letter. Your appeal letter must also explain the reasons you are appealing.


/s/ John Haase

John Haase, Fire Chief

Clyman Fire Department

cc. Village of Clyman Board

Town of Clyman Board

Attorney A. Griggs

August 7, 2009

TO: Marty Pint, Lieutenant, Clyman Fire Dept.

FROM: John Haase, Fire Chief, Clyman Fire Dept.

RE: Letter of Reprimand

Dear Marty:

This letter is to inform you that a letter of reprimand will be placed in your personnel file for an incident which occurred on Friday, July 3, 2009. The incident that I am referring to is your decision to take and use fire pickup truck #1781 that belongs to the Village of Clyman and Town of Clyman without proper authorization to do so. You chose to take truck #1781 and use it for something that was not fire related in any way and because of your error in judgment it resulted in your damaging truck #1781 in excess of $1,000.00.

On Wednesday, July 22, 2009 I met with both the Village and Town Boards to discuss who is responsible for paying for the damages resulting from the incident on July 3rd. After review and much discussion both boards agreed that it is not the responsibility of the taxpayers to bear the cost of repairing #1781. Therefore it was decided that you are responsible for paying in full the costs that will be incurred to repair #1781 back to its original condition. I will be getting additional repair estimates and when I decide who will be doing the repairs on #1781 you will be informed as to what the cost will be for the repairs and to whom you will make out the check to for the full sum owed.

For conduct unbecoming of a Fire Department Officer you are being removed from the position you hold as Lieutenant within the department effective immediately. In addition to this you cannot run for an officer's position within this department until elections are held in December 2010. You are also being placed on Probation for One year effective immediately and this letter will remain in your personnel file indefinitely. If after one year you have not had any further incidents you will be taken off of probation.

If you are interested in appealing this decision you must request in writing an appeals meeting of the Town and Village Boards. You have 15 days from the date listed above to submit your appeal letter. Your appeal letter must also explain the reasons you are appealing.


/s/John Haase

John Haase, Fire Chief

Clyman Fire Department

cc: Village of Clyman Board

Town of Clyman Board

Attorney A. Griggs


Attorney Griggs also read letters that were received from the following people concerning this matter.

Barry Thompson felt that this should have been handled internally.

Dawn Pint - Marty's wife - The Fire Department is Marty's life and he is not in it for the money. He joined the Department after a fire at his house and saw how the people worked. They took the truck for their safety when putting up the signs.

Trina Adkins - The volunteer Fire Fighters respond to the community needs. We need our volunteer department.

Tamara Gerbensky - She gained the greatest respect for those she used to work with. The damage to the truck was not malicious. They used the truck with emergency lights that could be turned on for their safety.

Sherry Haase - Writing as a tax payer. She feels that accountability, responsibility and consequences of actions are important aspects. The Chief didn't do the reprimand on a whim, but thought long and hard about his decision.

These were all the letters received.

Dave Decono - He is a line officer of the department. The Membership votes them in. He indicated that recently the truck was taken to Seneca and they did not notify the Chief. He felt what they were doing the night of the incident was a fire related service. They had no intent to damage the truck. There has never been a policy or precedent set to ask to use a vehicle. There is nothing in the by-laws about this. He does not know what the terms of probation are that they will be under in the terms of the reprimand. They took the truck that night for safety reasons and personal protection. Dave Blank stated that they should have used the ambulance instead of the truck. Dave Blank indicated common sense dictates the truck should not be used for personal use.

The question was asked, “Why haven't other incidents been brought to the board?”

Dave Decono indicated they don't go against the chain-of-command. If he thought he would have needed permission he would not have taken the truck out or would have asked. This decision is being made on behalf of the fire department. Why couldn't the Chief resolve this matter internally? None of the membership or board members knew what the disciplinary action would be. This could have been resolved by talking to the Marty and Dave. The actions and letter of reprimand and probationary period are inappropriate for the incident that happened to him.

Nancy Schlender - The Chief has to take all accountability for the equipment. The chain of command needs to be followed. Question asked about what the Chief does. Who elected him - the membership elected him. Dave Decono indicated that he still respects John as the Chief. Nancy feels that there is a one sided group here. She indicated she has been advised that there is a lot of tension at the Fire Department meetings. If you are a volunteer, you do it from the heart. She does not feel that this is a one time incident that led the Chief to bring it to the Boards.

Chuck Burkholz - Thanked the Fire Department and Marty and Dave for what they do. He is baffled about this whole thing. He does know that all involved are reputable and hard working people. He feels that he is in a bad place and this comes down into backing up the Chief on his decision. He feels that the Chief is the boss and trusts him in his decision.

Question raised as to why the Chief would issue a reprimand with this type of severity. Dave Decono indicated that he doesn't know why he came down on them this hard. He has not seen this side of the Chief until this reprimand. He does not feel the board should be in charge and what does the future hold for a new Chief. A person spoke that indicated that the fire association would pay for the damage. Dave Decono indicated that there are guidelines. They are going to get the by-laws revised and these issues would be in black and white as well as what can be done so that these matters do not have to come before the board. Marty indicated that he is confused by the letter issue. He does not know what he has done in the past to bring this to the Boards.

John Haase, Chief, indicated that he is in the middle of this. He had a couple options when this incident occurred. Marty came forward right away. The Association could pay for it and not worry about it. It could be turned into the insurance company and say it happened at a fire. The deductible would have to be paid and then the rates would probably go up. His other option was to go to the Boards and let them decide. The Boards have the final say of what happens. He works for them. The Boards decided on a reprimand. Marty would be responsible. John would set the reprimand. Atty. Griggs approved the letters to Marty and Dave and they were sent out.

Laurel Finger - Spoke as a citizen and stated that she has been a Fire Fighter daughter, wife and mother. She appreciates everything they do but this has to be looked at as a board member. The fire trucks have been used to water the park but the fire Chief was called for his permission to do this. The Boards did not know what the reprimand was going to be and did not know what they were until she received a copy of the appeals letter. Many people are friends of her family and she also has to look at it as a tax payer. This is a very hard decision for her. She wants to do what is right for her friends and the community. She doesn't like the fact that there were veiled threats from members of the department. Those voting tonight would like to make the most educated and fair decision that they can. She does feel that there are problems in the department. The bylaws are not current and she pointed out discrepancies in the by-laws and the need to get these up to date so that everyone is on the same page.

Ed Wolff - Agrees with Chuck. The village and town should not pay for it with tax dollars. He agreed John would be in charge of the reprimand.

Beth Baehmann - Feels the reprimands are a bit harsh. She thinks at most that maybe a letter of reprimand is appropriate but would rather pay for a loss of a truck than a loss of life.

Jeff Wagner - Thanked the fire department for doing an out standing job. He pointed out the Chief controls the personnel. The governing body does not have any control in the personnel. The Village of Clyman has voted to enact a Fire Commission but the town is still working on that matter. Jeff felt he must stand with the Chief on this issue. The equipment, trucks and building are the responsibility of the Boards. People are the responsibility of the Chief.

Dave Decono and Marty asked how many incidents have been brought before the Boards in the last 20 years.

Attorney Griggs thanked everyone for attending this evening. Clyman is blessed to have a wonderful department. This was a matter that was drawn to the attention of the Boards by the fire Chief. When it is drawn to their attention, they need to respond. He thanked all that gave their views on this matter. One route is that the Boards can decide that this is a Fire Department issue and defer it to the Chief. The Boards also have the power to render a decision on their own and they would have the right to go into closed session but he recommended that they not do that.

Ed Wolff indicated that the decision is up to the Chief. If this matter is remanded back to the Chief and Dave and Marty are still not satisfied with the decision, they would have the option to go to court or to bring it back to reappeal to the Boards but the Boards are still bound by backing the Chief. He would hope to seek to minimize the problems.

Chuck Burkholz questioned if a new Chief is voted in, can he rescind the reprimands? The new Chief can take action but generally the decision would stay. The department cannot go into it expecting a new Chief would change the decision. The Chief has command of the department at all times. Chuck was confused as to why the Chief wasn't told of the truck use.

Dave Decono indicated that the members just take care of stuff in a timely fashion. The Chief is in charge. There has been laxness over the last 10 years. Nancy feels that this needs to be changed. Question raised as to insurance coverage when using their own vehicles. Town Clerk Chris Spilker indicated that she has received information from the insurance carrier that personal vehicles will be covered if they are used for town or village incidents.

Village of Clyman Police Chief Chad Enright asked that the firefighters step up and not get out of hand if the Board issues a decision they don't like.

Village President Jeff Wagner advised that the citizen comments are closed but the board can ask questions.

Laurel Finger indicated that the Boards did not know what the reprimand should or would be. She felt that the taxpayers should not have to pay for the truck. She personally did not think the punishment would be what it was but it was the Chief's decision. The membership voted the Chief in and it is their option to vote him out. She feels that the Boards need to stand behind the Chief.

Chuck Burkholz - He was asked to support the Chief in his decision and does not feel he can now override that because down the road that would not set a proper precedence.

Nancy Schlender - Will support John. Feels he is very professional. He is the leader and this is a learning thing. Communication is key.

Ed Wolff - Advised that at the closed session the Boards decided that the tax payers would not pay for the damage to the truck and that John would take care of the reprimand and that it should be held internally.

Jeff Wagner - He indicated that the insurance company has advised because this was not a fire call, the rates would probably go up and would go up higher than what it would cost to fix the truck out of pocket. Jeff indicated that the tax payers do not want to cover this.

Marty Pint - Indicated that Dave Blank damaged a truck approximately 4 years ago and did not get reprimanded or had to pay for it.

Attorney Griggs indicted that the issue tonight only involved the incident concerning Dave Decono and Marty Pint. The Boards were injected into this. They did not want to get involved. They can't address past wrongs. These types of things should be treated consistently and that is something that can be done going forward.

Dave Decono indicated that the Boards can also make a decision to rescind the reprimand or deal with this internally.

At this point Dave Decono served John Haase and Dave Blank with a letter of which the contents were not made known and were not discussed because of the matter not being an agenda item.

Jeff Wagner indicated that the Boards are trying to fix the future that would involve problems like this. They have two choices. Vote to support the Chief and refer it back to the Chief. Or, they can override the decision of the Chief and make some other decisions. Motion by Nancy to support the Chief. This motion died for lack of a second. Motion by Laurel to support the decision of the Chief with the added verbiage that it would go back to the fire department for the final decision. Seconded by Chuck Burkholz. Roll call vote taken:

Nancy Schlender Town of Clyman No

Chuck Burkholz Town of Clyman Yes

Laurel Finger Village of Clyman Yes

Ed Wolff Village of Clyman Yes

Dave Blank, Randy Roberts and Lorrie Hartman abstained from voting due to their ties with the fire department. Due to the majority voting “yes,” Village President Jeff Wagner did not vote. Motion is carried.

Attorney Griggs went through again what was being dealt with tonight. The letters presented to Dave and John cannot be legally dealt with tonight because they were not on the agenda. It would be an open meeting violation to deal with those letters tonight.

Motion by Laurel/Nancy to adjourn. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted:

Kris Kohlhoff

Village Clerk

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