Sunshine Week is a time to celebrate government transparency and public service, as well as a time to address lapses in the same. In October 2020, shortly after incorporating and shortly before our first edition, we sent out a Wis. Stat. 19.84(1)(b) written request by email from news media to our local governmental bodies asking that Valley Sentinel be sent meeting notices for the respective governmental bodies. Recently, we sent reminder letters by mail to the local governmental bodies in our immediate coverage area that have not been consistent in sending us meeting notices, with several having sent none at all in the past nearly 2.5 years.
Audit reached no conclusions, but shows potentially large errors in water bills.
During public comment at last month’s regular meeting of the Village of Arena Board of Trustees on March 7, board members were handed papers by former Village President Paul Pustina. Those papers contained an “Independent Accountant’s Report” covering current Arena Village Clerk/Treasurer DeNean Naeger’s tenure in Monticello. The report represents the findings of what Monticello Village Board minutes refer to as a forensic audit. Arena officials have stayed quiet since the meeting, but the current Monticello village president insists he saw no evidence of wrongdoing.
On Tuesday, February 22, at 8 a.m. the Village of Arena Personnel Committee met, made a recommendation to accept the resignation of Arena’s superintendent of public works effective March 31, and started right in working on interviewing for a replacement. If nothing else, the committee moved with laudable speed to fill a hole that was not even official yet.
On Feb. 15, Village of Arena’s Public Works Superintendent Michael Schmidt submitted his resignation, with a month and a half notice. By the next week, the village was already holding a meeting to interview internal candidates. That rush to hold an interview resulted in several village officials having open meetings law complaints filed against them.
A student from Hard Core Gymnastics in Arena held a lemonade stand fundraiser July 2 at the corner of Sharon Street and Village Edge Road in Arena.
The Arena Police Committee did not take any disciplinary action against Arena Police Chief Nicholas Stroik following a complaint from an area resident who said she felt harassed and targeted by the chief.
Every week, week after week, we read about the Arena Village Board and the constant dissent that is prevalent in all their actions. Trustees keep resigning, and no-one can be persuaded to run for their positions.
Arena faces two vacancies as another trustee resigns and as they settle a tax dispute that was previously taken up in court, during the Arena Village Board’s June 1 meeting.
People get out on the sandy shores of Pecks Landing, with a view of the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitors Center, to enjoy the brief heatwave May 2.
The Arena Village Board met April 13 for its regular meeting amidst a new lawsuit filing, took up the resignation of a trustee and purported to fill the resulting vacancy in a vote that didn’t include enough trustees, leaving questions as to how the board will proceed.