Thursday, May 20, 2010

Waukesha Mayor Shoots Self In The Foot

Definitely not a smart move.

Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley);Date:May 20, 2010;Section:Front Page;Page Number:4A

Mayor talks about his communication with council

Scrima doesn’t comment on allegations of secretly recording meetings

By Sarah Millard Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA – With a strong, public disagreement between Mayor Jeff Scrima and some Common Council members emerging after Scrima issued a memo last week to the Common Council and the news media questioning three aldermen for their meeting with Milwaukee Common Council members, The Freeman caught up with Scrima on Wednesday to ask him if there were ways either parties could improve communication levels.

“I would say that there is no story here,” Scrima said. “... You are trying to create a story and there is no story.”

Since the memo was released, members of the public and other aldermen have asked the two groups of elected officials to work together through the disagreements. Later in Wednesday’s interview, Scrima outlined his communication role.

“My role is to bring people together, is to bring the city together, is to bring the council together,” Scrima said. “That is what I am working on doing. I am not going to feed into a story ... that is going to cause division.”

Meanwhile, The Freeman learned Tuesday that Scrima recorded a conversation among himself, City Administrator Lori Luther, City Attorney Curt Meitz and an attorney representing a consultant working with the city. Scrima refused to comment about the issue Wednesday.

“There is no story there either,” Scrima said.

The Freeman contacted Luther and asked what happened during the Monday meeting with the attorneys. She said at the end of the meeting Scrima indicated he had recorded the conversation without their knowledge or consent.

“I am not concerned about the content of anything that was said in the meeting, but I am concerned that this doesn’t create an environment or atmosphere of building trust or respect among peers,” Luther said. “I hope that this was an isolated incident and that it won’t occur again.”

Recording conversations without a person’s knowledge or consent is legal in Wisconsin. However, Luther said attorneys are bound by attorney-client privilege.

“It is always the understanding that the other parties would be holding the other’s information in confidence,” she said.


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