Silver Lake Ethics Commission to consider complaints against trustees

silver-lake-VHThe Silver Lake Ethics Commission will meet Tuesday to consider a complaint against three village trustees.

The complaint was filed by resident Ralph Jankovic. In his letter, dated Jan. 11, Jankovic charges that Trustee Sue Gerber has been improperly voting on matters regarding the village’s contract with Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. because her son, Dan Gerber, is the private corporation’s president. Jankovic see this as a conflict of interest. He also alleges that Trustees David Snow and Michael Decker acted improperly by meeting with Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. representatives without notifying village President Jeff Albrecht and/or Trustee Cyndy Schwebke, chairman of the Emergency Government Committee.

Here is Jankovic’s entire letter. It was obtained by through an Open Records Request.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Village Hall. The meeting’s agenda says the group will elect a chairman, discuss the letter and discuss and possibly act regarding investigative actions.

An effort to have the village contract with Salem Fire/Rescue for emergency medical transport service instead of its long standing contract with Silver Lake Rescue has been a contentious issue over the last few months.

Note: As a couple of commenters have pointed out, Ralph Jankovic is Trustee Cyndy Schwebke’s father. I should have included that in the original post. — DH



  1. Rhonda says:

    Something that this article failed to mention is that Ralph Jankovic is village trustee Cindy Schwebke’s father. This “ethics complaint” is targeting those individuals who have expressed opposition to Schwebke’s ill thought out proposal to join with Salem Township. Hmmmm, just seems like another way of “eliminating” the other side. What a joke !! And these are the idiots running Silver Lake?!

  2. damed if you do and damed if you dont says:

    This is a case of just that.. no matter what an elected official does they will be wrong in the eyes of some.

  3. Always good to know the players. says:

    VERY interesting about the relationship of Jankovic.

    Gerber isnt in conflict unless she will benefit in some way personally from any arrangement that results. In addition, I suspect that people who voted for her also knew that there was a DAN GERBER relationship and they voted for her anyway. APparently she has the majority on her side by this vote. They wanted her to vote on the activities of the VIllage.

    Regarding the two trustees talking to Gerber etal. Isnt that what people wanted? to have good conversation? like adults? and to come to a conclusion that works for everyone? In this case unless the two trusttees ran back and talked with the other trustees and tried to encourage them to vote in their way, they did nothing wrong in terms of a walking quoram. Now if they went to the other board members and said WE HAVE THIS WONDERFUL DEAL AND YOU SHOULD VOTE THIS WAY AND IT WILL ALL WORK (which i doubt happened), then they did what they were elected to do – to do the business of the village, talk with the electorate and talk with the businesses that they contract with – And who better than these two to talk with the SLr? Just because there is a committee does not mean that conversations outside of that committee come to a halt. Part of being an elected official is to hear what peopl ehave to say, their ideas and alternatives to what is in place.

    This complaint puts a bad light on SCHWEBKE and make it look like a trial is being started in the media. Hopefully, her father acted of his own accord and didnt consult with the daughter. Most Importantly, I hope the Ethics Committee acts quickly and with one, single, meeting to put this distraction to rest.

    This does not help the Village of Silver Lake.

  4. I did not know says:

    I did not know that the atcitivies of the trustees in the village had to be approved by the President. The President has specific duties. They do not include limiting what other trustees are doing to fulfill their vision of their elected position. To imply that SNOW and DECKER needed to get a hallpass to talk with Gerber is pathetically immature and reeks of a controlling view of government. THAT kind of control is dangerous to the citizenry.

  5. the Commission says:

    Remember, the Commission can only suggest to the village board. They, on their own, cannot act. The Board needs to agree (and probably at a super majority of the board, not just a simple majority) to act or reprimand, or? or? or?

    from the VoSL website:
    ETHIC’S COMMISSION – Ordinance 491

    Diana Kuyper 3 year 2015

    Larry Baker 3 year 2013

    Marilyn Dahlen 3 year term 2014

  6. Is it election time in Silver Lake? says:

    Is Snow running for office this election?

    Is Decker running for office this election?

    Is there someone else behind this complaint? Like those trying to get back into a Trusteeship?

  7. The Big Picture says:

    As mentioned by Rhonda, Cyndy Schwebke’s father is Ralph Jankovic. Funny how it’s OK for Greg Galich to march on over to Salem and have discussions, but it’s not OK for elected officials to talk to a business that has provided service to this village for over 50 years. Did these board members miss all the “Save Silver Lake Rescue” signs all over the village? Would it not be proper for the village trustees to follow the will of the people, or does the board feel that the people of Silver Lake are too stupid and unable to have an opinion that makes sense? Just like Ralph, I too have attended most of the board meetings and at the last emergency committee meeting of the whole, it’s on tape, Dave Snow asked Cyndy if it would be ok to talk to SLR. She said it would be fine. That’s right, Ralph was not at that meeting, but I’m sure when Cyndy was dictating the letter to her father she forgot that part. There has always been a hidden agenda, and it’s now coming out. The village president has wanted to get rid of the fire department for some time now, what better way to do it then to have Salem come in. Mike Decker at this meeting also alluded to the fact that several members of the fire department have said they will resign from the fire department if they sign a contract with Salem, and in fact Dave Snow has already resigned. I applaud both Dave Snow and Mike Decker for seeing the witch hunt that has been launched against Silver Lake Rescue. The Silver Lake Rescue Squad is the knight in a chess game that is sacrificed in order to checkmate the Fire Department. Jeff Albrecht became upset because Dave and Mike actually read the Salem contract and didn’t like what they saw in it. How dare Dave and Mike have questions before they vote “yes” like Dunn, Wilber and Schwebke! The game is at an end, the pawn has been promoted and the people will again vote to remove the board. -CHECKMATE

  8. Matt says:

    Just typical small town politics at its finest! The entire Silver Lake government should just deband…The village is crumbling, taxes are outrageous and they are doing nothing to promote business from coming in. We have no real organized activities (Libertyfest as an example) [and no, the street dance should just be called drunk fest]…Instead of bickering over a rescue squad, how about we focus on making this town beautiful again? And no, I don’t regularly attend the meetings…there is no point anymore. No one seems to want to work together. It’s all about individual agendas, and their little votes.

  9. Ginger Randolph says:

    There are two sides to every story but usually only one side is ever heard from. The Village Board had been trying to have adult professional conversations with the members of the Silver Lake Rescue squad since Feb of 2012 and it appears that thay chose to wait til the very last moment possible to finally speak with anyone from the Village Board. I find that interesting.

  10. Tina says:

    @ginger randolph,
    Ms. Schwebke is the one that cancelled talked after 3 hours of meetings! This has obviously been thought through, have u not seen the yard signs ? Why are we looking to.Salem ? We don’t want this!

  11. Ralph Jankovic says:

    I have to say that my daughter Cynthia Schwebke did not ask me to bring this subject of Sue Gerber to the ethic’s commission,but I did ask someone the proper way to handle this. She I think was a little upset with me about the Dave Snow and Mike Decker issue because of there close relationship,but I really thought they should have notifyed someone.To the big picture Mr. Snow ask if he could meet with SLR after he and Mr.Decker had already met with SLR. The Sue Gerber ( conflict of intrest ) if her son was on trial in a real court would she be allowed on the jury, I doubt it, and I look at this in the same way.I do not have a question for SLR,about five years ago Roger Johnson was president then a citizen of Silver Lake had complained to the village about rescue not getting to them in a timely matter,at that time they said there were short handed and could not find anyone to work as a volunteer for little or no money.In the past four or five years it looks like rescue has some monies in there bank,so I am going to ask this why don’t you have someone trained to be a parmedic to provide the village better service.
    In closing I think that we need a better fire department with out fire protection our insurance rates will double maybe, we should let Salem take over the entire village and maybe our taxes will go down,and we will have fire and parmedics service!

  12. @Ralph Jankovic says:

    Mr. Jankovic, first off, in order for to have a conflict of interest, someone has to have something to gain. Sue Gerber was elected to office after her son had already been on the rescue squad. Also as president of Silver Lake Rescue, Mr. Gerber is not compensated for that position. The people on the Board of Directors for Silver Lake Rescue are not paid for those positions, but are elected by the membership to fill them. Sue Gerber was elected to represent the people of Silver Lake, and it’s pretty clear that the people of Silver Lake DO NOT want to see their rescue service to change.

    As for the complaint that supposedly was filed over 5 years ago, I cannot comment because I have no way of finding out that information. I’ve talked to Roger on several occasions about SLRS, but he has never mentioned any complaints, but I’m sure, just like any operation, you cannot please everyone, all the time. However I did ask, and the response times are WELL below the state averages.

    You talk about “monies” in the bank, yes they have money in the back, but like every good business, that money is earmarked for capital expenses (new ambulances, or costly repairs). As a non-profit, the SLRS does not have huge cash reserves, and that money is already spoken for. When they purchased the new ambulance 2 years ago, they paid for it out without taking out loans or sticking it to the tax payers. The fire department is just the opposite. They have saved no money since they had all their equipment replaced from the fire, and now they are in a bind and are telling the village they are going to need in excess of 500,000 for new fire trucks in the coming years! Frankly what money the SLRS has in the bank in no one’s business, but they have been forth-coming with numbers and figures to anyone that has asked.

    Once again you bring up the paramedic issue. You have been sold a bill of goods from several people that have an agenda. Actually several of the members are paramedics, or even higher level of care, such as RNs that work at local hospitals. The employee’s of SLRS are very well trained, and are very compassionate, and work very hard to provide the best service possible. Most of these people live in Silver Lake and know and care about everyone in the village as if they are family.

    You talk about your home insurance being doubled, but your taxes would go off the chart if you had to support a paramedic squad. SLRS has looked into becoming a paramedic squad a few years ago, but the increase in taxes couldn’t be sustained by the village, and that’s even if the state would allow them to operate at that level. Even Twin Lakes which is over twice our size looked into going paramedic, but found that it wasn’t feasible, and just like Silver Lake, they are surrounded by paramedic squads, so their studies showed it wasn’t a good move to become a paramedic squad. In fact, most of the state is covered at only the first-responder and EMT-Basic level. Only 17% of all services in the state are Paramedic, and we are fortunate that SLRS has contracts with all the surrounding providers to assist with the few calls that actually require them. It would be great if Kenosha County had a Level 1 Trauma Center, but the tax base isn’t there to support it, and neither do we have the tax base here to support paramedic, which is not needed in Silver Lake.

    You talk about your home insurance doubling, well look around, we don’t have fire hydrants in the village, we are already close to the top rating of the ISO level. (The higher the number, the higher the insurance cost.) The only way you are going to see a reduction in your homeowners insurance is if they put in fire hydrants, and if the fire department were to disappear, I’m sure the money they pay out to the fire department would be enough to pay the Town of Salem to respond to the 5 or 6 true fire calls a year.

    Talking with folks from Salem, they are looking at closing the Wilmot station and building one by Breezy Hill. I bet in trade for being able to put an engine in the Silver Lake Fire Department, they could work out a very sweet deal with the village. Silver Lake Fire could sell off an engine, utility truck, and 6-wheeler and put that money in the bank to maintain the tanker and engine that they still have. Salem would get the station they are looking for to cover their Northwest area, and you would have professionally trained fire personal in the village at a very reduced cost. It would be a win-win for everybody. Silver Lake Rescue would still be providing top notch service to the village and the village would save nearly 60,000 a year on the fire department bill.

    One more point Ralph. If you attended the meetings, especially the last Emergency Committee meeting of the whole, you would know that the ultimate goal of the fire department is to start their OWN ambulance service, and not at the paramedic level, but at the same IV-Tech level of the current service you have now! If the village wasn’t able to properly oversee the fire department the last 20 years, what makes you think that they are going to be able to do it in the future? You tell me what government service runs better then a private sector business? Again you hear over and over again from Greg Galich and Jeff Albrecht that we should have paramedic service in the village, but then in the same breath they say their ultimate goal is to use Salem for 1 to 2 years until they have their own IV-Tech level service in place. Just proves to me this entire debacle was started so that a few retired individuals could have a part-time jobs.

  13. Ralph Jankovic says:

    Sue Gerber has nothing to gain,but it is her job as a mother to protect he children,again I just do not think it is fair for her to vote because of the connection. To be honest I have to admit I did vote for Sue for the simple reason I wanted to see some diversification and she was the best out of all the others.
    ( complaint/Roger) It happend right after the board turned down Mills proposal for the condo project,and not long after the two gentlemen that wanted buy the Jays building and needed a code change ,again voted down by the board. I jumped up and shouted out how can we turn down tax dollars when SLR needs funds to hire people,at that time I did not know that SLR was a privetly owned co.

    ( Insurance ) All I know is that I have talked to my agent about this he explained to me that a fire department had to fall into a 5 mile radius if over that your rates would go up.
    ( Salem firedept.) I have to agree with you! But you have to agree paramedic service would be a ++++. As far as top notch service they are limited they can only go so far with there training.
    ( SLFD/Rescue ) I think some of the people who have left rescue recently could fill in, but I beleive this would take some time.
    In closing I have to ask you one question,this was brought up at a meeting a few weeks ago why do we have to subsidize SLR Inc.?I would like to thank you it is nice to discuss things with out people screaming out like a bunch of idots.
    Ralph Jankovic

  14. Branden Sellers says:

    WOW ….. all I can really say….. the maturity on all parties mentioned are that of a high school popularity contest.. watching from a distance. and reviewing both sides…. lets grow up and get tis done!! been 2 years!!!!

  15. Dan Gerber says:

    Again for the subsidies we have to have those to operate, we alone cannot stand on just billing as many calls cannot be billed to a person, they are services we provide to the citizens, for instance at a fire, we cannot bill a homeowner for the time which could be many, many hours. We must recoup those monies, just because we collect and bill monies to residents for services on transports to the hospital does not mean we reap huge profits. Some patients due to their insurance do not even break even. With so many people struggling in today’s economy we at Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. have done what I think is an outstanding job, we have keep from 1989 to 2009 the same retainer $25,000 – I ask you to look at other village services provided by “private companies” has gone up, look at the attorney, appraisers, engineers, insurance, refuse and recycling please and see if any of those stayed the same. only after 20 years did we raise the retainer by $2000.00.
    We try and do the best we can locally as well, I was quite taken aback by the remarks of Jo Ladaskey from Citizens for Growth at one of the meetings again stating Silver Lake Rescue Squad is a “private company”….. ask yourself what usually has a better bottom dollar, government or private business. We have to watch our bottom line each and everyday, no reckless spending and we have been very proud of our history at not continually keeping a burden on the taxpayers.
    I also understand that the hot button issue is paramedic, I run a paramedic service and Ralph it’s not free, you have seen the proposals it’s not free.
    Also Ralph I want people to understand you have paramedic service right now, we call Salem or Medix as soon as the situation is assessed or on some cases as we leave the door, once we arrive before the paramedics we still have to do an assessment, IV access, there are some medications we can give right away, and also transmit cardiac rhythms to the doctor, there are a lot of steps that have to happen before a paramedic can perform hence the steps of the EMS program. I don’t disagree but paramedic comes at a price and that price of almost free will not last for long – ask Paddock Lake.
    Also do not reference “monies in the bank” ask Dunn or Albrecht we don’t have any money we have declining revenue.

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