City of
Madison

District 15

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Contact Information

Home Address:

4117 Major Ave.
Madison , WI 53716

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Ahrens’ Updates

Water Utility, Voting, East Madison Community Center

October 15, 2018 9:56 PM

Open Meetings Law: Last week, Isthmus newsweekly published an article about an investigation by the Madison Police Department as to whether I violated the Open Meetings law.

The violation of the law allegedly occurred when I called members of the Water Utility Board and asked their views on the pending vote to place the General Manager on a one or two-year probation and not increase his salary.

This proposal had previously been approved by the City Finance Committee after it learned of the massive debt accumulated by the Water Utility from private lenders and two emergency loans of $10 million and $6 million from the City.

Last month, the Utility's debt has resulted in the City's bond rating to be changed from "Outlook: Positive" to "Outlook: Negative". The "Outlook: Negative" rating resulted in a substantial increase in the cost of our borrowing.

Some background:  This isn't the first time that the Mayor has charged me with a violation of the Open Meeting law. Two years ago, I and another Alder proposed that the power to appoint Alders to city committees be shifted from the Mayor to the Council President. The Mayor responded by charging us with an Open Meetings violation. The baseless charge was dropped.

In this instance, I proposed that the contract of the General Manager not be renewed (for five years) due to the history of financial mismanagement. The Mayor proposed to renew the contract and increase his salary by $6,000 in the first year with increases following.

This is despite the fact that the Utility Board recommended that his contract should be terminated.

A few days later I was contacted by an MPD detective that I was being investigated for this "crime." I called Chief Koval and asked him why a detective was interviewing and not the City Attorney. He said he didn't know and that he knew of no other instance when police were used for these kinds of civil matters. The City Attorney agreed that there was no precedent for this and that he offered no reason why the matter was turned over to the MPD.

Two detectives interviewed me for over an hour. They also interviewed four other members of the Utility Bd. Later, I had an additional meeting with the two detectives.

Conclusion: I did call four members of the Water Utility Board to hear what they had to say about the proposal to place the GM on probation. This is an activity that legislators do all the time: count votes. If legislators didn't have a good sense of whether a measure has a good chance of passing, we'd have a lot of debates about proposals that are "non-starters." The Mayor's office calls Alders to find out where they stand on issues as well.

State legislators do it too, but they do it in a "closed caucus" and, amazingly, exempted themselves from the law they passed.

The matter is now before District Attorney Ozanne who will determine whether to prosecute me for this "crime."  If he decides to go forward with it, I will not take a guilty plea bit demand a trial.

I have to ask why if the MPD is short-staffed and have proposed an additional six officers why were told to use two detectives to conduct this investigation. Also, the DA has proposed (to the state) that it needs additional staff because they can no longer handle their caseload. How will they justify the use of these resources?

You can read the article here:

https://isthmus.com/news/news/madison-police-detectives-investigate-alder-david-ahrens/

 

East Madison Community Center (EMCC) Make-Over: The EMCC is the fortunate recipient of the Floor 360's Design for a Difference. Floor 360 and dozens of other companies transformed the EMCC from a truly dingy, worn-out space to something truly special. The EMCC staff and kids left their center for two weeks and when they back, the D4D group had spent hundreds of hours and over $600,000 in supplies. You can see some pictures at:

https://madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/east-madison-community-center-receives-major-renovation-from-design-for/article_f3f17267-c8df-5694-bf6e-20db7c69aef3.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

Please Get the Leaves Out of the Street: This is the Leaf Season. The leaf piles are nice and good for composting. But if you want the city to pick up your leaves, please don't put the leaves in the street.

I know there was a time when the city asked homeowners to put the leaves in the street to make it easier to pick up. But times change and now we know that the leaves go down the storm sewers on rainy days and from there they go right into the lakes. Once in the lakes, they add to the phosphorus load and then turn into algae.

 

We Need Your Help as a Poll worker: The City Clerk's Office needs to fill over 3,000 poll worker shifts for Election Day. Hundreds of vacancies remain unfilled. Poll workers are paid an hourly living wage of $13.01. There are three shifts available: 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 1 p.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m., or 6 a.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m. Poll workers will also be paid to attend one hour of training. Poll workers must be eligible to vote in Dane County: at least 18 years old, a United States citizen, a resident of the county for at least 10 days, and not disqualified from voting. Sign up online at http://www.cityofmadison.com/EO. 

 

Voting Has Begun!

Pinney Library

204 Cottage Grove Road
 October 15 - November 4
9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday*
1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday*

*pre-registered voters only on November 3 and 4

City Clerk's Office

210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 103

September 20 - November 3
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, November 3*

*pre-registered voters only on November 3

Streets East

4602 Sycamore Avenue

October 15 - November 2
7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays

Central Library

201 W Mifflin Street

October 15 - November 4
9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday*
1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday*

*pre-registered voters only on November 3 and 4

Hawthorne Library

2707 E Washington Avenue
October 15 - November 3
10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday*

*pre-registered voters only on November 3

Pinney Library

204 Cottage Grove Road
 October 15 - November 4
9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday*
1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday*


*pre-registered voters only on November 3 and 4

 




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