Salem Town Board asks chairman to discontinue Making Salem Better website

The Salem Town Board, following a closed session at a special meeting Tuesday night, voted 4 to 1 to request that Chairman Linda Valentine discontinue her Google group website Making Salem Better.

Valentine voted against the move.

Here are the draft minutes of the meeting (which were supplied by Valentine).

The site, for which people must apply for access and be approved by Valentine, has been cited as “likely a public record” by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Earlier in the evening Tuesday, the board and some staff and advisors met in closed session to discuss the case of town Clerk Cindi Ernest, who is suing the town for allegedly defaming statements made by Valentine about Ernest.

Immediately after the closed session, the board voted in open session to release information to its insurance compnay regarding the case. Valentine also voted against that action.



  1. valentine says:

    Oh look, Draft Minutes!

  2. Marcy says:

    So, Linda Valentine does minutes!? Isn’t that the clerk’s job? If Ms. Valentine wanted to be Town Clerk, why didn’t she apply?? Oh Look! She’s not qualified! As far as her sitting in the Town Hall – doesn’t the Town Hall have a “no solicitation” policy? If not, maybe they should adopt such a policy; every other place of business has such a policy. People of Salem – remember all the problems that have plagued the Town over the past two years. I have never seen the Town of Salem in the paper as much as I have during these past two years. And, I don’t think it’s coincidence that the problems have occurred after Ms. Valentine’s win in 2009. Sure, every Town has problems, but Salem has had more than their share of them during the last two years. How much has the Town paid in attorney fees alone over the last two years? Probably enough to equal not only the pay, but also the benefits of the deputy clerk that the board released.

  3. valentine says:

    …clerk is generatlly NOT at closed sessions…and closed sessions are NOT recorded.
    ..solicitation of what?
    …at a place of business of the town..? ahha! the Town of Salem Chairman! What better place for a TOWN Supervisor to conduct TOWN business with a citizen? Are we all so accustomed to NOT seeing the supervisors that when one actually can talk to a supervisor that it is considered solicitation or odd?
    When one goes into other businesses and ask for someone of authority shall they go to another location than that of the business…?

    I dont know about you, but when I want to talk to someone about anything that is affecting me, I go to the source and prefer to have it be at the official location. That we can often met and talk at a site about that site is often easy and convenient and more SEEING IS BELIEVING based, it is still better to be able to conveniently meet AT THE PLACE OF BUSINESS.
    About the costs… That data you could get from the clerk by request.

  4. valentine says:

    I’d suggest that you also read about the December 13th meeting, but those minutes arent available yet. You and others, including the board, will have to wait until January 10th.

  5. Robert says:

    If Closed session minutes are not recorded – what’s the big deal about getting the draft minutes done? Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back. Also, what’s the big deal about waiting till January 10th for the minutes? It seems that you’re the only “board member” complaining about such trivial things. If you really want to be accessible to the people, why not give your home phone and your cell phone to the public?

  6. valentine says:

    Closed session content are not recorded.
    Minutes including the attendance of the board, attorney and other appropriate parties are part of the documentation of the event. As is the documentation of the OPEN MOTIONS that m-a-y have occurred.
    Chronology of actions and events are important. Lack of chronology is a problem.. For instance… Would you like to know the result of a football game before it is played? or if you have taped it, would you rather watch it and watch the end and the final goal?
    Quick draft minutes are important so that the chronology of events are clear.
    Quick draft minutes are more important when taxes and fees are being voted upon by the board.

    Tho it was a closed meeting, the two motions are OPEN MEETING actions by the town board.
    Knowing what is happening at the hand of the town board is never trivial. Knowing what is happening in a timely fashion is extremely important.
    My phone number has been on the town web page since I took office.
    You can visit there at
    My email address is there as well and a simple call to the home number or by asking at the town hall will connect me to you quickly. I respond to all calls and all emails.

  7. Robert says:

    I am in totally shocked that you are so very concerned about how things should and shouldn’t be done. You almost make one think that you are really concerned about the town as a whole. On one hand you want things to be all “above board”, especially as far as meetings go, and minutes being done; however, on the other hand, I’ve been following this whole lawsuit thing, and isn’t it you that decided to take the clerk’s powers away from her?? The same powers that are given to the clerk under the Wisconsin State Statutes? It seems to me that by not listening to what you say, the board members are thumbing their noses at you; just like you thumb your nose at the State Statutes and Attorney Van Hollen’s decision that your website is in fact a public record.

  8. valentine says:

    You ask: Isn’t it you that decided to take the clerk’s powers away from her??
    I answer: NO. I did not.

    The basis of your opinion is..

  9. valentine says:

    regarding VanHollen…
    To be accurate:
    His UNOFFICIAL OPINION, not an Opinion nor a Statement was NOT that MakingSalemBetter WAS a public record.. but that it was MORE THAN LIKELY a public record, all without having made an inquiry to find out more about the Discussion Board.

  10. Robert says:

    “The basis of your opinion is..incorrect.”
    That happens to be YOUR incorrect opinion. We could banter on all day about who has the “correct” opinion. I will believe what I want to, and, you can do the same. Everyone doesn’t have to have the “valentine way” of thinking – that’s what so wonderful about this country – we are each entitled to our OWN opinion.
    Remember residents – January 4th is the last day to turn in papers for running for office.

  11. salemethics says:

    Robert, Help us understand this. The clerk is given certain powers under state statutes. Does she not take an oath to follow the statutes? If she does, is the clerk not breaking the law and violating that oath? If Ms. Valentine didn’t take those powers away as she states, then who did? Isn’t the chairman responsible for making sure that the statutes are followed? She sure mouths off about minutes yet we have this issue which I believe is more important. Who on the board took away the clerks powers and why? What powers were taken away?

  12. Robert says:

    According to Ms. Valentine, she is readily available to answer questions – I’d suggest that you ask her those questions, but, please, make sure that you post the answers that you received. By the way, a few weeks ago, I received a check from the Town of Salem and guess who’s signature is not on the check? The Town Clerk’s! Any other municipality that I’ve ever received a check from has the Clerk’s, the Treasurer’s and the Chairman’s signatures – not true in Salem. How legal is that?

  13. salemethics says:

    I was told that if the clerk’s signature is not on a check it is invalid. So how long has it been since the clerks signature was removed and how many checks have been issued by the town are not valid? Who ordered it removed?
    I remember reading the complaint that she filed on the KN web page. That was just one of many items in her complaint that are supposedly not legal.

  14. valentine says:

    salemETHICS -ask this via a open requests request thru the town clerk.
    Get your facts. Form a substantiated opinion.

  15. chris says:

    As far as the signature goes – according to State Statutes, the Clerk’s signature, the Treasurer’s Signature and the Town Chairperson’s signatures are required on a check, except in municipalities where the clerk and the treasurer are a combined position. In that instance, there are only two signatures required for checks and balances; otherwise, three are required by State Statutes. Chapter 60 of the State Statutes will tell you EXACTLY what the Clerk’s duties are. People must remember, the Town doesn’t make up the Clerk’s duties – THE STATE OF WISCONSIN DOES. I’d love to know what the Town’s auditing firm thinks about the way the money is handled in Salem.
    Why ask for an open records request – why don’t you give us the “facts”?

  16. salemethics says:

    Thank you Chris you are right. Why should someone have to do an open records request? We have the chairman on this forum why can’t we get an answer?
    I just looked at the statutes and what you have said is correct. I wish I had a copy of the complaint that appeared in the KN so I could compare the complaint with the statutes. What I and maybe other taxpayers want to know is who took the duties away? The chairman denies it so was it the rest of the board, the administrator or all of them? Was this done in an open meeting and approved by the board? Statutes are the law. Do we get to pick and choose which laws to follow?

  17. valentine says:

    The question was:
    and followed by WHO?

    Those are questions that can be answered by facts from the town clerk as part of an open records request.
    Or, perhaps thru a search/review of the minutes on the website.

  18. salemethics says:

    I did a research and review of the minutes and have found nothing in them relating to taking away the duties of the clerk. I will call the town hall since you refuse to answer.

    You are the chairman and should know these answers. According to Chris, the chairmans signature is on those checks. Shouldn’t the chairman be able to tell us when the clerks signature was removed? Now I have even more questions such as why the chairman can’t give a straight answer and why so evasive about simple questions?

    The chairman claims to be readily available to answer any questions from residents, but is telling this resident to do an open records request? Does the chairman pick and choose who she answers? Is it becasue I’m not a supporter that I’m told to do an open records request?

    Very simple questions which the top board person, we elected, should know. Who ordered the clerks duties removed and when was this done? Is the town above the laws of WI?

  19. valentine says:

    I dont know you.
    I dont know Chris.
    I dont know that the clerk’s signature was removed.
    THIS is a comment board, not an official forum.
    I have given you the route to go to get official answers to your questions regarding the acts of the town. That is a clerk duty.
    There is no TOP BOARD person. The board members, all 5 of them, are equal. As chairman there are extra duties.
    If you dont wish to pursue with a rather simple open records request, then, ask any of the 4 other board members and see if they know the answers to actions taken by the town.
    Better, ask the town administrator who is the clerk’s boss. Oh!
    The number is the same 843 2313.

    Oh, I forgot and I waste my time and that of others as I suspect you are an employee and know all of this first hand!
    I could be wrong. but i surely dont think so!
    Happy New Year everyone!

  20. salemethics says:

    Do you not sign the checks? If you do, then you would know if the clerks signature is there or not. As I said, I will call and ask, but I would have expected the chairman to know and to provide a straight forward answer instead of telling me to do an open records request.

    No one here is forced to read any of this, but I am glad if they are. I find it appalling that you state you are wasting your time by answering a question from a resident who has asked simple questions. I’m the one who has wasted my time trying to get an answer.

  21. valentine says:

    The clerk is last to sign anything I sign, if she signs at all. So no, I have no, i dont know if the clerk is signing the checks after me.
    I said to ask via open record request via the WHEN and the WHO since I did not have the answer to that question.
    Again, I dont know if you are a resident, an elector or someone in Japan who just happens to read Westofthei.

    Tyying to get an answer via a comment board when a call to or a request of the town clerk or the town clerk’s boss, town administrator Casey is all that you had to do is totally at your own discretion.

    I am sorry that my answers are not adequate in your eyes. Still, I have given you good and more than adequate advice… Of course, you could have stopped and asked me over the last several days at the town hall as you walked by.

    Happy New Year everybody.. as we all can see, we are far from the subject of the article….

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