DPI tells Paddock Lake Community Library side agreement on representation not compliant

Photo by Sanja Gjenero via morgueFile.com

Photo by Sanja Gjenero via morgueFile.com

A side agreement designed to maintain equal representation among the municipalities on the Community Library Board does not comply with state statutes, a Department of Public Instruction official says.

The opinion is contained in a letter dated March 17, 2016 from John DeBacher, Director, Public Library Development, Division for Libraries and Technology to Paddock Lake village Trustee Kathy Christenson.

Paddock Lake had been seeking clarification from the state on whether the agreement would meet with state approval.

Since its founding as a joint library in 1980, the library has had a governing board made up of two members from each member municipality and an additional member that rotates between Wilmot and Westosha high school districts. The current municipal members are Salem, Twin Lakes, Paddock Lake, Randall and Silver Lake. That arrangement was allowed at the time, but state statutes have since changed. Statutes now call for members on the governing board to reflect the population of the respective municipalities. Under current state guidelines the board should be composed of five members appointed by Salem, two appointed by Twin Lakes and one each appointed by Paddock Lake, Randall, Silver Lake and Wilmot/Westosha high schools.

The member municipalities have resisted calls to bring the board into compliance with state statutes in order to maintain the equal representation. But last year, the state Department of Instruction began to threaten to withhold state funding if the change is not made. A proposal from Salem sought to work around the apportioned representation to keep the current board makeup in place. Salem proposed a gentleman’s agreement that would have the library’s agreement changed to the current state statutes, but have Salem only appoint two members from its borders and then use its other three seats to appoint an additional Paddock Lake, Randall and Silver Lake representative, as suggested by those municipalities.

Salem, Twin Lakes and Randall appeared ready to move ahead with Salem’s agreement. Silver Lake was silent. Paddock Lake officials were pledged to not go along with the side agreement unless it was approved by the state.

The March 17 letter did not give that OK:

 The plain language of the statutes clearly requires that the membership of the board be “representative of the populations of the participating municipalities.” By contrast, the Appointment Agreement provides equal representation to each participating municipality, regardless of population. For example, paragraph 2 states that “no participating municipality…shall designate more than two persons to serve as Board Members on the Community Library Board.” Similarly, paragraph 4 of the Appointment Agreement states: “It is the intention of the participants in this Agreement that each participating municipality in the Community Library shall effectively have the ability to name two members to the Board of the Community Library.”

Paddock Lake village President Terry Burns said he was glad to have a ruling because the village was not going to do something that was illegal.

Burns said he will now have a new library agreement  drawn up that incorporates the appropriate representation language as well as some other points in DeBacher’s letter. The Paddock Lake board will discuss that document, vote on it and then send it to the other municipalities in hopes it will be passed, Burns said.

Burns acknowledged that enacting this opinion would in effect decrease Paddock Lake’s representation on the Community Library Board to one person and give control to Salem, who would have five representatives. But he said he felt it was important that the village not break the law.

“Paddock Lake will be the loser. That’s the downside  … We are not going to do something that’s illegal,” Burns said. “Once again, Paddock Lake had to the the grown up in the room.”

Sentiment among the municipalities for maintaining the two each representation on the board has run very strong, which created the side agreement in the first place. Without equal representation, some municipal officials feared the future of the joint library was threatened.

If that happens, don’t blame Paddock Lake, Burns said.

“The last thing I want to see is the Community Library to dissolve,” Burns said. “What I do want to see is the Community Library run more efficiently.”

DeBacher’s letter is here.



  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well…..so much for the tea bagger conservative agenda of “leaner,smaller, government”………….looks like more of the “big government intervention” we have become accustomed to under Scott Walker and his cabal of “conservative Christian calamity. Now they are coming after our libraries!!!!!!!

  2. Shocked does not have a clue says:

    Well Bernard your right. It all comes from the top. They closed our library in Silver Lake. They made it look like the Silver Lake Village Board did it. When the real truth is there was no money because of Scott Wallkers budget cuts. The Library Board had to close Silver Lake not the Silver Lake Board.

  3. First Commentor did not read the letter says:

    DeBacher has not changed his opinion which he wrote to the board in 9 24-2008 email. They are not following statutes. Kreuser’s Doug Baker was advised of this when he asked DeBacher for his opinion and approved of the illegal contract that they are operating with now. DeBacher wasnt in the position to enforce it then but he is now. It is about time that the library board follow the law and it is about time that people know who their board members are who are not following the law and who have openly and covertly been subverting it. The municipalities, all by Paddock, are quiet on this because they know they are in violation.. SO too the attorneys who allowed their municipalities to sign an agreement that was not appropriate. v


  4. Get off your high horse Terry! says:

    Terry this issue was brought forth by Linda Valentine “way back” in 2009.


    And as for you Bernard, The Governor was Jim Doyle back then.

    Scott Walkers administration is just trying to enforce existing law in place. Or would you rather we don’t enforce laws at all ??

  5. Terry Burns says:

    Just to set the record straight, this statute has been on the books since 1992, long before Walker.
    This is just a prime example of your inefficient library board being in denial of reality. Kinda like buying a building without a tenant. That whole train wreck went well beyond Gerber. This included your current Library Director Lee Ann Briese buying property insurance for that building even though the community library didn’t own it. That is misuse of public funds plain and simple.

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well folks…..the tea baggers came after our schools, gutting education, our public services, INCLUDING our cops and firefighters…..Scott Walker is just “enforcing the laws”???????? They are coming after our plastic bags next!!!!

  7. Terry Burns says:

    I am well aware of Linda’s pasts attempts to wake up our Library Board from their delusional slumber. At that point in time however the VPL President and library appointee chose to be part of the problem instead of the solution.

    In regards to the closing of the SL Library, it was closed because the operational costs far exceeded it revenues. In other words – budgetary reasons. All the municipalities currently pay the bare minimum to belong to the Community Library System – including SL.

  8. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well…in true tea bagger fashion, they blame “Jim Doyle”…..blaming the media will be next. I’m all for “enforcing laws”….lets’ start with our own “golf cart law” right here in Paddock Lake!!!!

  9. Terry Burns says:

    If you wish to discuss the referendum passed golf cart ordinance feel free to give me a call. My cell phone is 262 206-2644. If you are seeing violations, I want to know about it so that I can address your concerns with the Sheriff’s Dept.

  10. Gail Peckler-Dziki says:

    To be clear, the Community LIbrary board has nothing to do with the agreement that governs the library and the library board. That is between the five communities. The library director did not misuse public funds. She did followed the library board’s direction until it was discovered that the purchase was not handled according to state law. While the Kenosha DA did say there was no criminal wrong-doing, he did not say that the purchase was handled according to state law. He, in fact, did not address that issue at all.
    As soon as problems with the purchase were discovered, the library stopped paying for insurance.
    LeeAnn Briese has done a great job with getting our library on track and moving forward. Anyone who says different is speaking without any knowledge.

  11. Matt says:

    @Bernard- Keep in mind kind sir, Doyle made an absolute mess of this state. Walker, although not perfect by any stretch, has dug this state out of the hole it was in, and exposed union corruption within the state and brought a surplus filled with lower taxes. Smaller government works, but unfortunately, Walker still has to obey federal guidelines set forth by those in the current administration.

  12. Can't tell him says:

    Matt and Terry meet berny! You can’t tell him anything and he certainly won’t call you. He will just post his insults on west of the I and pretend he knows best and worship anything that Salem does. While you try to explain he will say you’re blaming. He blames walker but when you counter with facts he will point in a different direction and dazzle the unknowing with song lyrics and quotation marks. Truth is he dislikes walker because walker exposed his firefighters and gov’t workers (that’s where the Punsleys have made their hay)!!

  13. Bernard Punsley says:

    Matt…nice try……union corruption? did you forget the Joe Doe probe where 6 of Walker’s close associates WENT TO JAIL? That’s when he was Milwaukee County Exec, running for governor. What surplus????? Lower taxes? Better check your tax bill again. Folks like you will continue to blame Doyle and the media for the mess this state is in…..Ted Cruz is your answer? And please cite exactly what “federal guidelines” Walker has to follow in enforcing library laws.
    Nice try.

  14. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Can’t tell him: Umm….you claim that I “worship anything that Salem does”.
    Want some “facts” that you claim I never provide. 1.Who provides Fire & Rescue coverage for Paddock Lake? Salem 2.Who provides police protection for Paddock Lake ? Kenosha County Sheriff’s department. Just as they now do for Silver Lake. FACT. “Walker exposed his firefighters and gov’t workers”..
    Really? Looks like you are using “smoke and mirrors” yourself. And just who are “the Punsleys”?? The FACTS are that Walker did “come after” cops, firefighters, all public workers, schools, and yes, now our libraries. To quote Jack Webb from Dragnet “Just the facts, mam”.

  15. Hands out Bernard...... says:

    Bernard and his family have had taxpayers pay for their insurance and benefits for over 30 years. I guess I would be mad at Governor Walker also if he stopped my free ride.

  16. Who are you Hands out says:

    I was a public employee and had to get a job in the private sector to make a family supporting wage. You think there is union corruption. Just look what happened to our Kenosha County Highway Department. Try to feed a family of 4 on $15 per hour.

  17. Ok Hand out says:

    If you do not pay a person a living wage what happens. They become a Burdon on the tax payer. Cant afford food. We buy them food stamps. Cant afford medical treatment. We pay for it. You can pay people enough money or you can pay for their living expenses. That is how it work.

  18. Not how it SHOULD work says:

    If you want a living wage, go out and do what it takes to earn one. Why is it you liberals believe everyone owes you a living? Maybe if Kids learned to pay attention in school instead of how to get the taxpayers to pay for their heat, food, and free cable, we would be better off. Sick and tired of public sector leeches thinking they are special. And don’t get me started on driving by road crews if 10 guys watching 1 guy work.

  19. Feed a family of 4 says:

    Maybe you shouldn’t have a family of 4 until you can take care of them? Get an education and a job making them obey needed to have children first. Priorities anyone?

  20. Ok Hand out says:

    I hope you are never in need of help Feed a Family or Should work. But if you are I will be there to help you even if you don’t believe in it. I do very well and have a lot left over to help people that need it.

  21. Better Job Opportunity ? says:

    Since you can’t feed your family of four standing on the side of the road holding a “slow” or “stop” sign. Maybe even look for a job that could better support your family instead of trying to blame others for the fact you aimed so low in life .

  22. Few and far between says:

    Family supporting jobs are few and far between.

  23. Double standard says:

    Berny likes to praise the public sector employee but then how many fine public sector folks have lost their jobs or been forced to “retire” in silver lake thanks to the sheep on the board led behind closed doors by berny himself! If you’re not part of Bernys elite group your going to be bullied out of town!

  • Follow us on

  • Archives