In answer to questions I had submitted earlier this month, Ken Yunker, Executive Director of the 21-member Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (seven
counties provide three commissioners each), supplied by email Thursday two lists related to Commission meetings and functions.
* The first list: Which commissioners - - 14 of 21 it turns out - - attended the agency's recent, end-of-the-year annual taxpayer-paid party on December 7th. In past years, Yunker has said the dinners cost about $1,000 in commission funds.
Yunker also supplied the names of other 2011 dinner attendees.
* The second list: Which commissioners had received $50-per-meeting fees to which they are entitled if they request, and for how many meetings. Commissioners draw no salaries. The agency budget, Table 3, provides $15,000 annually for commissioner fees.
The dinner attendance information begs two questions:
If two-thirds of the commissioners attend a dinner that convenes following SEWRPC's last quarterly meeting, isn't the dinner essentially either an extension of that meeting, or a gathering that constitutes another one?
And in either case, should that dinner be open to all, and subject to the requirements of the Wisconsin Open Meetings and Records laws with their mandates for proper advance notification, a published agenda, plus recorded and published minutes?
Previous dinners, as I have tried to track them, have met none of these standards.
SEWRPC is a public body operating under a grant of state legislative authority, and receives 100% of its budget from public sources.
The second list sent by Yunker shows that 19 commissioner have accepted $50-per-meeting payments during 2011 ranging from one payment to 27.
Five commissioners received at least 22 or more payments that would total at least $1,100, the SEWRPC accounting shows.
Background and data on the dinner issue is here.
The commissioners attending the dinner were:
Former Commissioners in Attendance
Susan G. Greenfield
Staff in Attendance