Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Merrill group to petition for recall of five common council representativesSubmitted: 03/13/2019
Story By Dakota Sherek

Merrill group to petition for recall of five common council representatives
MERRILL - A group in Merrill took drastic action to fix what they believe are significant problems in their city government Wednesday. 

Their solution to those problems? Remove a majority of their common council representatives through a recall election.

"Today the citizens of Merrill have placed the majority of our city council members on notice," said LaDonna Fermanich. "Can you hear us now?" 


A handful of Merrill residents handed in intent to recall papers at city hall for five out of eight district representatives. That action comes just months after citizens were angered over a more than seven percent increase in their property tax, instead of the three percent they thought it would be.

"Our voices should matter and we're going to make them matter," said Mark Bares, one of the organizers of the recall group. 

Bares says nothing came of the more than 150 complaint forms turned in over the city's handling of the budget.

"It's unacceptable, I mean this is our government. You can't run a business that way, if that were to happen heads would roll," said Bares. "Big mistakes like this people would at least be reprimanded and none of that is taking place." 

The group wants to recall Paul Russell, John Van Lieshout, Dave Sukow, Rob Norton, and Tim Meehean. Rick Blake would've also been on that list, but as an appointed member he has to serve for a year before he is eligible for recall according to Bares.

Steve Sabatke is one person who's planning to try and replace one of those current representatives.

"We love this city; we don't like what's happening now," said Sabatke. "We want to stop, reanalyze and get it moving forward again." 

The group will have to get a certain number of signatures from each district within the next 60 days to make the recall elections happen.

"Once we start going through this process people will start taking ownership in their city again because they're going to feel like they have a voice," said Bares. 

The group hopes that if they can get new representatives on Merrill's common council, taxpayers voices will be heard in city hall. 

"This is our city and we need to take it back and make it great," said Bares. 

Aside from accusations of overspending on the budget, the recall papers filed list a number of additional reasons for the recall, including the following: repeated failure to protect the best interest of the constituents in light of mismanagement, misinformation, and "possible illegal activities of administration and council", willfully ignored and took no action to correct errors by city staff, failure to take action to end "violations of open meetings laws", failure to oversee city staff and failure to listen to the tax payers of their districts.
All representatives the group intends to recall have been contacted but none want to make a comment at this time.

If the group gets enough signatures in the next 60 days, the city will then have another 60 days to schedule the recall election.

The group does plan to cover the cost of the recall elections which they say will be around $2,000 to $2,500. For a full list of the group's reasoning behind the recall, or to donate to their cause, people can visit their website merrillrecall.org

They are also hosting a "Recall Rally" on Tuesday March 19 at Les and Jim's Lincoln Lanes for anyone who has questions or would like to show their support.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Winter approaching means road crews need to prepare for snow and ice.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Carpenters, masons and other skilled laborers from Lac du Flambeau will soon restore a government owned, Great Depression era lodge in Taylor Co.

+ Read More

MADISON - The nation's largest independent spice retailer is peppering Facebook with ads calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Wisconsin-based Penzeys Spices spent nearly $100,000 on Facebook ads last week calling for Trump's impeachment, making it one of the largest social media spenders on impeachment to date.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - On Tuesday, The Northern Advantage Job Center and Grow North Regional Economic Development hosted the first annual Fall Community Fair

The event helps bring awareness to the the services and employment opportunities in the Northwoods.

It featured employers offering flexible job opportunities including work from home positions.

The community fair not only catered to people looking for jobs, it also doubled as an event for the whole family to enjoy.

"We have face painting, life music, activities for the kids, and we have treats donated from Walmart," said Tammy Kowalczyk, an employment training specialist. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - It might be difficult to stay fully informed about mental illnesses and diseases.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is trying to change that through public activity.

NAMI is an organization founded in 1979 that attempts to raise awareness about mental health. The Northern Lakes chapter in Rhinelander, which serves Forest, Oneida and Vilas counties, participated in a national Mental Illness Awareness Week from Oct. 6-12.

"So what we're trying to do with Mental Illness Awareness Week is just increase the knowledge that people have about these illnesses and the fact that they're organic illnesses like any other illness you can name," said NAMI Northern Lakes Executive Director Mick Fiocchi.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Two months ago, Jeffrey Liebscher was arrested by Oneida County Sheriffs' deputies for a hit and run.

The incident killed 23-year-old Sean Holtslander.

Liebscher faces one count of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and one count of hit and run-involved death.

Police can also ask for a breath test for alcohol when they want one.


Oneida Couty Judge Patrick O'Melia put limits on when Leibscher can go into places that sell alcohol.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A Native American musical instrument helped bring people to Nicolet College to celebrate Native culture.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: