Silver Lake considering policy governing audience participation at meetings

silver-lake-VHThe Silver Lake Village Board is considering a new policy regarding how the audience at meetings can participate in governmental proceedings.

If adopted, the policy would be the most formalized citizen comments practice among Western Kenosha County municipalities.

Trustee Soti Wilber said she introduced the proposed policy in frustration over raucous audience behavior at board meetings. Sometimes, audience members are disruptive enough that board members are unable to hear discussion among themselves, she said.

“Currently people speak out of turn and it causes a lot of problems for us as board members…” Wilber said. “This is not meant to deter anyone from speaking up.”

The policy presented Wednesday includes:

  • Following Robert’s Rules of Order.
  • A time limit of 3 minutes for speaking during citizen’s comments.
  • Speakers for citizens comments will need to sign-up at the meeting before it starts, including a topic they wish to address. Speakers “will only be allowed to speak on that specific topic and will only be allowed to speak on that topic one time, unless requested by the board,” the policy says.
  • Speakers will have to wait to be acknowledged by the presiding officer. Also, “citizen’s comments are to pertain to the topics of the village. Personal attacks will NOT be tolerated and you will be asked to leave immediately. No questions asked!!! Repeat offenders will not be allowed to speak during Citizen Comments” (Note: Capitalization and punctuation from original — DH.)
  • A requirement to submit a request to the village clerk five days in advance of a meeting to be placed on the agenda. That requirement is in order to allow time for the appropriate committee chairman to be contacted. Only committee chairman place items on the agenda in Silver Lake.


The entire policy including the sign-up sheet can be viewed  here (document provided by Trustee Soti Wilber).

Village President Sue Gerber criticized Wilber for not bringing the policy before a committee. In response, Wilber said she distributed the policy via email and requested feedback.

Gerber also defended how she has been running meetings.

“”If it gets out of order, I stop it,” Gerber said.

Wilber acquiesced to Gerber’s request for the item to be discussed at a committee meeting and the item was tabled.



  1. Its time says:

    Its time for the village to disband…altogether! You have certain groups of people who have been involved with the village far too long! Silver Lakes taxes keep going up, its landlocked, and there will never be any improvement within the village if this group isn’t removed from office. You have trustees that always seem absent, a village president that has no clue what to do, and in the mean time, the village is crumbling. Silver Lake is on its way to extinction right before our eyes!

  2. Jo Lasdasky says:

    How can the president of a village allow an audience member to disrespect a village trustee by giving the “finger” during a meeting and then not requiring the person to leave. Another trustee tried to have the audience member removed but the president screamed that “I’m running this meeting” and pounded on the desk so hard that she broke the gavel…..I’m sorry….this does not follow any Roberts Rules or Order that I ever heard of. Granted this was in the past when I actually attended the meetings…but I will not attend a circus anymore and that is what the board meetings have become. There are no rules, people are screaming and being disrespectful to everyone and using language you usually hear in alleys. Shame on our village and anyone who allows this or adds to the disrespect.

    I wanted to be a trustee…I submitted a letter of intent stating that I wanted to bring the 2 “factions” that are splitting the village apart together and make us one village….I was told that I was biased by the President of the village….I’m sorry I thought having your own opinion, even if it doesn’t agree with yours was the way things worked. Isn’t the fact that I wasn’t even considered…being biased because I may not agree with you all the time.

  3. Kimberly Ann says:


    With all due respect, when you ran for village trustee the first time (and did not make it), didn’t you allign yourself with two of the trustees already on the board? I can’t remember for sure, but I seem to recall getting a flyer either in my mailbox or at my door that wanted me to vote for you and two others (Snow and Schwebke perhaps?). How can you call out the President for stating the obvious?

  4. June says:

    My property values are depreciating due to the way this Village is run. No one has the fortitude to raise taxes to truly “fund” the Fire Department; instead they scare the citizenry with threats of disbanding the current Rescue Squad company to hire one 8 miles away. Few board members understand Robert’s Rules of Order and even fewer follow those rules in a meeting. Signing up to speak at a meeting is a good step in the right direction but actions speak louder than words, so we’ll see how that goes.

  5. Ridiculous says:

    @Kimberly Ann-
    How can you hold that against Jo from “aligning” herself with the others. Didn’t you mom (Sue) do the same thing with Roger??? Also, for your information, Snow and Schwebke were all running for the first time. So they weren’t already on the board just to make it clear. So with all due respect, get your facts straight before posting online. That is why we have all the problems we do now. Posting statements to get everyone all up in arms without even being accurate.

  6. Jane Sponholtz says:

    You were NOT voted in SSSOOO I do not care what you think!!!

  7. Bernard Punsley says:

    I agree with “It’s Time”. Our resources in Silver Lake have reached a point where they are overwhelmed. Our lack of generating revenue has finally caught up with us. The fire department tried to address some of that concern, but got blown out of the water by Rescue. Public works, police, administration, are all feeling the “crunch”. As much as it pains me to say this, I think it is time for our village to disband and become part of Salem Township. We must continue to “Move Forward”. Start with bringing in the professional paramedics from Salem Fire & Rescue, and move forward from there.

  8. Bernard Punsley says:

    I’m not feeling the love here!!!!

  9. Agreed says:

    Agreed,,, we need to bring in Salem rescue and FIRE, and Kenosha County Sherrifs Dept. No need to have a fire and police dept in a Village of our size.

  10. Neither Sider says:

    The cost of providing all the services a village is required to maintain for it’s residents plus the cost of keeping up with state mandates has become more expensive than the home owners of this village can afford. Remember the years when the taxes increased every year? As soon as the tax bills came out, for sale signs popped up all over on the north side of the village. Rather than disbanding the village, how about merging Salem into the village – choose a new name .. The Village of ?. All problems solved and the Town of Salem raises it’s status with the state – and remember towns were created to be eaten by cities and villages, not the other way around.

  11. Bernard Punsley says:

    I think “Neither Sider” has a valid outlook on the fate of our village status. Those state mandates continue to flow out of Madison daily. We should seriously consider the benefits that merging with the town of Salem would provide ALL of our residents. We no longer have the resources nor the ability to generate revenues that would allow us to maintain and upgrade all of our services. Combining Silver Lake’s assets/tax base with the Town of Salem’s would be a “win-win” for everyone. Start with bringing in the professional paramedics from Salem Fire & Rescue and move upward from there. How ’bout “Town of Salever Lake”? (Ok, lame, but it got you thinking!!!)

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