Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Only Superman can be 2 places at once: School Board & Trustee meetings? + UPDATE

Elections, Elmbrook

I am still wondering about this: How can a person be in 2 places at once? The only one I know of who ever did that was Superman! And even he could not maintain all his super powers when he split himself in two. He was weaker when split apart.

Candidate Charles Wickens is running for both the Elmbrook School Board AND Elm Grove Trustee. That in itself would make me raise an eyebrow. (I used to have an alderman who ran for 3 offices at once.) But the situation is even more puzzling than with my ambitious former alderman, because the meeting days and times conflict with the Elmbrook and Elm Grove positions. Surely I must be mistaken?


At first I thought Wickens ran for both offices thinking he might not make it through the Elmbrook primary. But he is still on the April 7th ballot for both positions.  In an email, he did offer to meet with me to discuss his candidacy. I declined--I only have so much free time.  In my email reply, I asked "Could you clear something up though? Are you still running for Village Trustee?" That was on March 19th. I did not hear back.


I stopped in Elm Grove's Village Hall to verify when the Trustees met. The woman at the desk said, the 4th Tuesday. I questioned her about how could Charles Wickens run for both offices when the meetings conflict? She was just as fuzzy as I was on how that could work.


I really had a hard time believing that the meeting times conflicted, since I hadn't heard anyone really mention it. So when I came home, I looked online. Sure enough, Elmbrook's meetings conflict; the Trustees meet on the 4th Tuesday, at 7:30pm.


Elmbrook School Board meetings have been on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday's of the month. Sometimes a work session beginning at 6pm precedes the meeting time. During the summer, they meet once a month, on the 4th Tuesday only.


Now if you check with the Village of Elm Grove for their Village Trustee meeting schedule, you see that they also meet on the 4th Tuesday of the month.


Lest you think a candidate would be running for both positions for the money, I don't believe that is the motivation. The Village Trustees serve voluntarily.


Sometimes people do run for local office if they have political ambitions though. Local office is a great place to learn the legislative process. It also helps build name recognition. Sometimes local office gives a board member, trustee, or alderman a little local clout. You know, the schmooze factor. This is especially valuable if the public servant also owns their own business--it gives them a broader pool of contacts. I don't know Wickens' motivation for running for both positions.


The Elmbrook School Board does not pay much--it's under $4,000/year. Although I don't think money should be the motivator for public service, I do think there should be appropriate financial compensation for time served.  A good board member spends time preparing and researching issues for board and committee meetings. Sometimes they field concerned citizen phone calls and emails. If the member is female, family dinner may be rushed or take-out is the solution. Sometimes baby sitters are needed if a spouse is not available. Being a board member disrupts family life. The family sacrifices when a parent is on the board; they should be compensated. "A workman is worthy of his hire."


I really don't see how Mr. Wickens can do both jobs.  I think it is disrespectful of the voters and office to seek both positions if all meeting cannot be attended. Maybe someone will ask him about the conflict tonight at the Elmbrook School Board Candidate Forum?


I wish we had a larger field of candidates to choose from but we don't. It is up to you, the voter, to discern which candidate would serve us better.


If I find out anything more about the time conflict, I will post it. My next task is to clarify the candidates' positions on 4K!

UPDATE: Well, that was fast. Before I posted , I emailed Charles Wickens again 10:57am:

I am posting on the time conflict between Elmbrook and Elm Grove meeting times.

I am also going to post before the election on each candidates 4K position. Are you for 4K? Would you vote for 4K as a way to increase Elmbrook's budget revenue knowing it costs the Elmbrook taxpayer more?

I would be happy to post your explanation.

His reply at 11:26am:

Thank you for your note.  I am aware of the conflict that occurs on Tuesday nights between the Elmbrook and Elm Grove meetings. This problem as plagued the Elm Grove leaderhip too long and it needs to be resolved.  It is unacceptable that Elm Grove leadership does not attend Elmbrook board meetings!  Elm Grove needs to have representation and voice at the Elmbrook meetings and both Board Presidents need to get together and fix this uneccessary conflict!  I will continue to make sure that this issue is resolved. Low hanging fruit.

You can decide it that satisfies the conflict. It still does not for me. In Kyle World, I would first run for Village Board and try to change the meeting time if I believed that strongly that Village Trustees should attend both meetings.  Then I would run for school board in a later election if I felt compelled to do both. Even if meeting times did not conflict, there might be times when there was a conflict of interest between school district and village business. (Example: Sometimes a school district sells or purchases land from the city/village. How can you represent both parties?)


counter hit xanga

Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News


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