State orders Paris to hold recall election for Town Board

The Wisconsin Elections Commission found Friday that the Paris town clerk’s finding of insufficiency for recall petitions of the Town Board members was in error and ordered that the town move ahead with a recall election to be held in late November.

A staff recommendation, which the commission accepted, stated in part:

The conclusion of Commission staff is that Clerk McCumber improperly issued a Certificate of Insufficiency for the recall petitions filed against all three of the Town of Paris officials. The Commission staff determined that the Statement of Reason for Recall was present on all pages of the petition and that the reason was related to the town official’s responsibilities as a town official.”

Joseph Kolnik, one of the organizers of the recall and who is expected to run against Chairman Virgil Gentz, said in an email statement:

Our community’s access to democracy has successfully been defended. The hundreds of people who signed the recall petition will not be silenced by the current Paris Board. Now Paris residents can elect a new Town Board that values low taxes and transparency.”

As of 7:10 p.m., McCumber had not replied to an email request for a statement. Gentz and Supervisors Ron Kammerzelt and Ken Monson also have not returned calls yet.

The recall organizers were mobilized by the board’s handling and approval of an intergovernmental agreement with Somers, which included the immediate mass transfer of 2,500 acres from Paris to Somers.  They objected to what they saw as a forced relocation that will diminish the value of their property and which was handled without public participation, such as discussion at open meetings.

Earlier this week, the Paris Town Board along with Somers, Kenosha and Kenosha County officials announced that those municipalities have agreed to a new concept for an intergovernmental agreement and boundary agreement. That concept designates areas of Paris to be annexed to Somers and Kenosha and for Kenosha to supply water and sewer service, opening the door for development of land along the I-94 corridor. Property owners in the Kenosha and Somers growth areas would have 50 years to be annexed.

Related posts

Paris Town Board recall petitions submitted

Paris recall organizers, one board member share views on recall

Paris incumbents file challenge to recall petitions

Paris supervisor proposes debate with recall candidates

Paris Town Board recall organizers to appeal decision rejecting recall election

Status of Paris recall election still undecided



  1. Northwestern Mike says:

    Let me get this straight. There will be an election in late November and then another election in April?

    This makes no sense.

    I would like to see the current board implement the agreement they just worked out with Kenosha and Somers.

  2. Thank god for people that stand up against wrong says:

    The Paris Town Board moved up the IGA implementation date by 15 days to April 15th (8 days after signing) so that citizens would have less time to get organized against the IGA.

    We have a better deal because of the court ordered injunction which stopped the Town Board efforts from becoming irreversible.

    The credit does not belong to this Town Board, it belongs to the men and women that acted decisively AGAINST this Town Board.

    Thank you for signing the Recall Petition!

  3. November 22, 2016 you will have the opportunity to voice your opinion says:

    To stop the fear and intimidation, we’ll need all your support.

    Government doesn’t have to be done secretively unless there are alternative motives – for instance, taking care of yourself instead of the electors.

    Governments don’t give $10 million to another municipality period – I still can’t figure this one out.

    We are all in this together, let’s work together to support our common goals – Our differences don’t need to divide us.

  4. Allocating $10 million to Somers is shameful says:

    The current Town Board of Paris continues to try and allocate $10 million to Somers and give them approximately 2,000 acres of land.

    By state Annexation law, Somers would typically be required to pay Paris 5 years of property taxes (the amount the Town levied on the annexed territory, typically paid annually for 5 yrs).

    Instead, Paris is paying Somers. Our Board must have really wanted this deal badly to break convention (as required in state law).

  5. Principles of the Recall Election says:

    1) Investing money in Paris keep taxes low.

    * Allocating $10 million to Somers is wrong.

    2) Educating the public before making decisions.

    *Signing an agreement on April 7th and publishing an “Answers to Common Questions” on April 9th doesn’t meet the “before” standard:

    *Educating the public means talking to them and getting their buy in (for instance, a signature):

    *See how Salem and Silver Lake are doing it:

    3) Having the public vote on big changes.

    * Paris still hasn’t recognized our petition for a referendum on the IGA.

    * We had to get the Wisconsin Elections Commission to force the Town of Paris to recognize our successful recall petition.

  6. Less Affected Resident says:

    Way to go WEC and Joe!!!! My faith in democracy is getting restored.

  7. Paris Pundit says:

    As our town board “renegotiates” the IGA with Somers, don’t forget that the Somers village president proposed a 50% PAY INCREASE for HIMSELF(from $12,000 to $18,000 annually)! Why should Paris residents help fund that? RECALL!

  8. The Bear and the Maiden Fair says:

    Will the clerk actually apologize for the insult to the voters and the amount of money it has cost hiding behind their lawyers? I’m not surprised they are unavailable for comment. If they had any shame the existing board would all resign within the 10 days they have.

  9. Bob Fliess, Joe Kolnik and Paul Terry are officially running against the board. Their site is

    Paris even had a lawyer come and speak to the hearing/meeting of the Wisconsin Elections Commission – so the taxpayer paid for that!

  10. ELECTION TIME: November 22, 2016 says:

    The referendum on the IGA should have been in June.
    The Recall Election should have been in July.

    Do to the insidious efforts of the Town Clerk, neither happened the way it should have.

    But November 2016 is better than April 2017.

  11. RECKLESS RON says:

    We can’t give RECKLESS RON 5 more months at the helm.

    Reckless Ron settled for a bad deal with Somers on April 7th that would have been final on April 15th if not for optimistic Paris residents intervening:

  12. It's time to change the legacy says:

    Unfortunately, this article reminds me of the Paris Town Board.

    In summary:
    * Those in power basically do what they please.
    Example: signing an IGA with Somers though most residents voiced opposition.

    * Executive orders, phone calls, and the right judge mean a lot more than laws.
    Example: Paris Town Clerk denying/delaying elections.

    * Rolling several agreements together to hide accountability
    Example: agreement with Somers being a part of the agreement with Kenosha (we can still stop this one come November).

    * A connection to the ruling class has become the principal way of getting rich in America.
    Example: Being fired for disagreeing with the Paris Town Board.

  13. Eye On The Money says:

    To NW Mike:

    At the press conference it was mentioned it could take up to 18 months to finalize. For the current board to see it through would require them being reelected in April.

    I for one have no faith in the current board to NOT give Somers money

    The final piece of this puzzle is the Paris Somers IGA. If a recall election in November is required to STOP insane sums of money heading to Somers… So be it!

  14. Paris Pundit says:

    @Northwestern Mike: Given your vast collegiate experience(that you frequently remind us less edumacated folks of)..which part of “State ORDERS Paris to hold recall election for Town Board” do you not understand? You are free to believe that holding the elections so close together makes “no sense”… CONVENIENTLY left out the reasons WHY those elections WILL be so close together(e.g. the town clerk’s(via the town board) attempt to THWART the recall attempt. The tactic of “delay, delay, delay” failed to sway neither the elections board nor those hundreds of folks who sought a recall election. Since you believe it makes no sense, stay home on election day.

  15. Another Paris Resident says:

    I posed this question when the whole issue of recall was first brought up, and have yet to hear a legitimate answer – What qualifications do these three men have to sit on a governmental board? I don’t want to hear anything about “anything is better than what we have now” because again, that is not my concern.

    Bob Fliess, Joe Kolnik and Paul Terry – I’d love to hear each of you answer my question.

  16. Eye On The Money says:

    To Another Paris Resident:

    It is my concern to get better than we have now. The dollars involved in the original IGA were so offensive a board needs to be elected now to stop it. Come April there seems to be additional candidates considering a run.

  17. Paris Pundit says:

    @Another Paris Resident: The 3 “challengers” are Paris residents. They are “qualified” to run for Town Board. They have a legitimate concern as to how the IGA “process” played out…..using Supervisor Ron’s card game analogy…they did not like the “cards they were dealt” during the “back room deals” that were taking place, the “deck was stacked against them”(and all of those living in the “Twilight Zone”)… and they decided to “shuffle the deck”. The challengers took all of the LEGAL MEANS available to them to run for office via the recall process. They are not running on a “anything is better than we have now” platform …….did you take a Northwestern Mike pill…..or swallow the whole bottle ?

  18. Qualifications you ask? says:

    How about these?

    The willingness to stand up and be heard.
    A life time of living and learning.
    Knowing right from wrong.
    Knowing when you getting something that you don’t want.

    I could go on and on but how about this?

    The town board position is just two steps above the library board and just one above the school board, so just having the desire goes a long way here.
    According to these post and this question being asked before, the current board members didn’t have a whole lot more experience than these three when they ‘first came on’.

    So while it’s a fair question to ask, the standard for qualifications for elected office at this level should be no more than having the heart to do what’s right for all of the constituents they represent, the willingness to seek out consensus and knowing where the phone is to call the lawyer when you don’t have the answer.

    By the way, ever go to a Westosha Central or a grade school board meeting? The word ‘bored’ will get you every time. The recent Salem grade school (one of the largest schools in the state) annual meeting had just 11 residents show up and vote on the levy. And five of those voters were school board members.

    When the public/taxpayers/constituents don’t show up at the meetings that usually is a sign that they are satisfied about the performance of that board. But when the room is packed it usually mean they are not.

    True, a board which receives little if any opposition at the monthly meeting may feel that they must be doing something right, that doesn’t give then the right to give away the farm when nobody’s looking!

  19. The current board members have many answers to provide about the cost of lawyers and other public info requests that haven’t been answered…why can’t the clerk provide anything? Is there something to hide? Why did they only give 15 days notice till the agreement was a done deal? They need to provide answers – by law.

  20. Another Paris Resident says:

    Once again, nothing but good feelings about the qualifications of the three men challenging the incumbents. . . as exemplified by the reply from Paris Pundit and Qualifications You Ask.

    Guys, I’m not saying that the current board did no wrong – however once again I am looking for legitimate qualifications from these three men. If elected we are entrusting the affairs of our township government to them – how are they qualified to do so?

    And please – no more replies about how “bad” the current board is or how “nice” the three guys are. How about facts and details? I for one am hugely concerned over this. . . .

  21. Ron and Virgil – we’ve seen you comment here. Why the silence? Instruct your Town Clerk (not ours since she rejected everyone’s petition signatures) to answer the public info requests. Who’s next?

  22. Nothing new in Paris says:

    I think a DA investigation into potential illegal actions by all involved might be more than interesting. All the way up to Kerkman.
    Anyone in Paris can ask for it.

  23. Nunya Bidness says:

    I got a robocall tonight from Kolnik letting me know the recall election was going down. He asked me to press ‘1’ if I supported Kolnik et. al. and ‘2’ if not. That takes some serious chutzpah. I’m irritated that “none of your business” was not one of my options. While I was still chewing that over, you asked if I wanted a yard sign. What I really want is to be left alone. Please don’t call again.

  24. Nunya Bidness says:

    The committees to elect Kolnik, Fliess, and Terry just robocalled me AGAIN. I tried pressing ‘3,’ which just caused the message to repeat itself. If you press nothing at all, you get a “thank you for your support” as well as an offer for a yard sign.

  25. Northwestern Mike says:

    A robo-call opinion survey paid for by the committees to elect Joe Kolnik, Bob Fliess and Paul Terry just had the gall to ask me who I was going to vote for.

    It is none of your !@#$%^ business. That is what a secret ballot is all about.

    Whose bright idea was this? Definitely someone I do not want to run the local government.

  26. Northwestern Mike says:

    Nothing new in Paris,
    Are you serious? DO it yourself if it is such a good idea.

  27. Northwestern Mike says:

    The Bear and the Maiden Fair,

    Ron uses his real name not like you and I have never seen Virgil comment on here.

    I hope you know the clerk is an elected position not an appointed one.

    DEAR “It’s time to change the legacy”

    Is that really your name? Really??? Common Darren. Really!!!

    No one has been fired for disagreeing with the Paris Town Board.

  28. Northwestern Mike says:

    These posts all tear down what the town board has created yet they never offer any new ideas.

    I asked Joe Kolnik when he came by my home what he would do to secure a boundary agreement with Kenosha.

    His answer was to talk to them.

    Well this town board has talked to the new mayor and they have agreed to a very good boundary agreement. I do not care how it was made.

    It got Done.

    Stop your complaining and tearing down the board board’s accomplishment.

    Offer something positive.

    I have seen nothing to warrant replacing the current board who have worked for many years in the town’s best interests with these three that want to replace them.

  29. Northwestern Mike says:

    Dear Stand against wrong.

    There were two listening session before a vote was made. Read the laws.

    There is nothing in them to demand any listening session before a board vote is made.

    Was there a listening session before the board decided to reduce the amount they paid toward the county tax. NO.

    There is also no law about holding a referendum. Read the laws.

    The board was fairly elected by the majority of the town resident to decide this stuff for them.


    The credit belongs to the town board that negotiated an agreement with Kenosha.

    They did the actual work. They did not sit and complain.

  30. Northwestern Mike says:

    Dear Qualifications you ask,

    They exist so they are qualified. Not Quite.

    One was a truck driver and I don’t know about the other two. But if they are to be considered I should know something. I know they are all connected to others in town.

    I know their supporters criticize educated people. That tells me a lot.

  31. Northwestern Mike says:

    Dear November 22 and others,

    Anybody that claims this town board gave Somers $10 million disqualify themselves for not understanding that a loan has to be repaid: some with interest.

    Spreading falsehoods, shame on you.

    I guess it is like candidate qualifications. Candidates don’t share them when they don’t have any.

  32. Northwestern Mike says:

    By state Annexation law, Somers would typically be required to pay Paris 5 years of property taxes (the amount the Town levied on the annexed territory, typically paid annually for 5 yrs).

    FALSE. WRONG. Read the whole law.


    2. No payments under subd. 1. must be made if the city or village, and the town, enter into a boundary agreement under s. 66.0225, 66.0301, or 66.0307.

  33. Northwestern Mike says:

    The petitioners claimed the supervisors:

    — Failed to serve in the best interests of all town of Paris residents when they worked on the controversial — and now scrapped — intergovernmental agreement with the village of Somers, defining an Interstate 94 corridor development area.

    The interests of the majority of Paris resident was served by the IGA. Getting all is impossible.

    — Signed the agreement against the direct instruction of many town residents.

    There are no laws that force the town board to follow direct instruction at an Annual Meeting.

    — Did not provide an opportunity for residents to vote on the matter before signing it.

    There are no laws that require a vote on board decisions.

    The Election Board was wrong.

  34. Northwestern Mike says:

    Dear Paris Pundit,

    I sense an inferiority complex.

  35. Paris Pundit says:

    @Northwestern Mike: Here are some of your quotes(read them above, if you think I’m making them up): “Spreading falsehoods, shame on you”. “One was a truck driver”. “I know their supporters criticize educated people. That tells me a lot”
    “A loan has to be repaid”. My responses: You feel anyone who disagrees with your wisdom is spreading falsehoods and should be shamed. Look in the mirror, pal.
    You routinely tout your formal education and self proclaimed expertise on all town matters. Most truck drivers I know might take exception to your “slam” on them.
    A loan has to be repaid…UNLESS the borrower DEFAULTS(ask Donald Trump how this works). When did our town get in the business of loaning money to Somers? But Mike, I’ve saved the best for last : “BRING ON THE RECALL VOTE”…’s coming, robo calls and all despite the efforts of folks like yourself, the town clerk and town board to THWART it!!! See you at the polls. I’ll be standing in line with the truck drivers.

  36. Nothing new in Paris says:

    The only reason this new potential agreement even happened was because of Mr. Kolnik. Both Joe and Don stopped the Paris Town board and the old IGA from stealing our property values and forcing our taxes into major increases. Probably double in the next ten years!
    The new agreement is horrible for Paris as well. Paris has open boundaries all over the place. Why give up anything to Somers? They have nothing to offer in this deal! Please correct me if I’m wrong… but I have seen nothing good about Somers in this whole thing.
    I don’t like the idea of “robo-calls” either, other than maybe stating the election date. We know the town board is not going to let you know. They won’t even follow the laws regarding the Freedom of Information Act. Seems criminal.
    BTW….The DA investigation is going to happen! This could get ugly.

  37. The Bear and the Maiden Fair says:

    Yeah that call mentioned the date so it was useful. Hilarious NW Mike would object to being asked who he’d vote for. Candidates for office campaigning? Imagine that! Not like the Board would tell anyone when the vote is. Speaking of which did anyone else see there was a last minute meeting on Tuesday and the final item was hiring a communications consultant? Is the tax payer going to be lying for their election campaigning comms too??

  38. The Bear and the Maiden Fair says:

    Paying not lying…

  39. Another Paris Resident says:

    Nunya Bidness – I had the same thing happen and I am not happy either….. But think about it – that is a prelude to what could come if the three new guys get in….

    NW Mike – love most of your comments and positions – I would (if you don’t mind) liken you to what some have said about Trump – people may not like the delivery, but if you would listen to the message, hard to argue with!

  40. Truckerwife says:

    Nothing new in Paris,

    Where was all this concern for rising property taxes when the school referendum team was in full attack on Mike and he alone demanded transparency in spending from the school board? As for you, Paris Pundit….. Mike sponsored signs, letters and door to door campaigns to inform his neighbors of the facts regarding the referendum and school board tactics. “Most truck drivers I know”, happen to support Mike and his efforts to keep all citizens informed on everything Paris. If his opinion is different than yours regarding the current town board recognizing and correcting a mistake they had made in IGA negotiations; than so be it!

  41. Less Affected Resident says:

    NW Mike,

    Joe is also a farmer. Are you going to start insulting farmers next?

  42. The Bear and the Maiden Fair says:

    But back to the serious issue – why haven’t he Town Board followed their obligation and given answers in a timely manner for public info requests – what have they got to hide?

  43. Another opinion says:

    Mike, when you were running for school board, I voted for you because you had the most “qualifications”. I voted for you with the understanding that you were going to do your best for people like me. But, you didn’t – you quit when the going got a little rough. So, what did your “qualifications” get me and my vote? A whole lot of nothing. Someone said earlier that you don’t need qualifications – that is true. But, let’s talk about that – you said that one of the new guys is a truck driver. Well, I think one of the people on the board now, puts in air conditioning. Which one is more qualified?
    As far as the money to Somers – 1.25 Million is a payment – no pay back on that money; another $500,000.00 is to help pay for legal fees – again, no pay back on that money. Another 3 million INTEREST FREE loan – that will get paid back (when, no one knows); another 3 million, LOW INTEREST – that will also get paid back – again, no one knows when.
    As far as robocalls – I don’t care for them either, but, it’s not the first one I’ve gotten, and it won’t be the last – everyone uses robocalls.
    As far as the new hire – I’m confused as to why the Town would need a marketing manager – what are they selling?
    If it weren’t for the people that filed a lawsuit against the town for the IGA, the town would have lost over 2500 acres AND almost 10 million dollars – regardless of when SOME of it would get paid back – the town would be minus almost 10 million dollars right now.
    Why would Ron be doing the negotiating? He’s not the chairman.

  44. Nothing new in Paris says:

    Truckerwife, I was very concerned about property taxes etc. during the school referendum that was needed to keep taxes low. If you remember correctly, if the referendum didn’t pass, your property taxes would have doubled because the school would have closed and you would have had to pay other school districts.
    I appreciate most of Mike’s concern, help, and thoughts on that issue. But the referendum saved you ALOT of money. But that’s old news.
    It’s also old news that this Town Board has had 30 plus years to protect the boundaries and did next to nothing until Drissel’s offered to be annexed for Uline to build. THEN they started running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

  45. Madison Rachel says:

    As an almost lifelong resident of Paris, I do care how the deal got accomplished unlike NW Mike.

    The original IGA was a deliberate plan to kick residents out of town. The current Board passed it with no intention of making large changes or including Kenosha. If you were at the Public Hearing when they passed it, you would agree.

    A change in leadership is what we need. The orginal IGA was reactive rather than proactive. Reactive as Kenosha is already in my backyard with Uline. Joe Kolnik has been very proactive attaching informative flyers before the first Public Hearing when most of us just trusted the current Board and didn’t question the vague certified letter the current Board sent to announce the Public Hearing.

  46. Paris Pundit says:

    @Northwestern Mike: “I sense an inferiority complex”…..umm, no actually, I sense a “superiority complex” that you frequently display. Read your posts again, feel the arrogance oozing from them. Deal with it.

  47. Nunya Bidness says:

    I, too, @Truckerwife am grateful for Mike’s efforts during the referendum. He spared me from an Illinois-style larceny through property taxes. There is a certain amount of karma here that I must admit I am enjoying. While there is little doubt the board duffed this one badly, I am afraid the proposed cure is worse than the disease.

  48. Nothing new in Paris says:

    Also, Tuckerwife, remember that the school basically had nothing to cut. The previous administrator had run the school into the ground. This is common knowledge now. Then that board even convinced the teachers to vote themselves out of the union, which is unheard of. That Board was cleaning up the mess from the previous regime. hmmm Kind of like what’s trying to be done on the Town Board now.

  49. Northwestern Mike says:

    Dear The Bear and the Maiden Fair,

    The PR firm is to explain the Kenosha-Paris agreement to town residents. They are cheaper than the attorney and as the town board put together the agreement the town is going to pay for it.

  50. Northwestern Mike says:

    Nothing new in Paris,

    The only reason the agreement is in place is because the town board negotiated it.

    Kolnik and buddies provided an incentive but the work was done by the town board.

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