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UPDATE: Attempts to Oust BID Board Members Fall Short

Executive Director Meghan Sprager provides more details about the harassment and bullying she allegedly has received at the hands of board members.

Updated at 10 p.m. Tuesday to include details on allegations made by Sprager in her letter.

Attempts to uproot the Waukesha Business Improvement District’s Board of Directors fell flat Tuesday morning when a vote of no-confidence against Norm Bruce, the board president, and Lynn Gaffey, a board member, fell short.

Bruce said he wasn’t surprised that board members Chris VanderBloemen and Jeff Barta brought forward the vote of no-confidence. However, the majority of the BID board voted in favor of Bruce and Gaffey.

Later on Tuesday, VanderBloemen resigned, saying of other board members: “Their current plan is to deny that there is a problem."

The vote of no-confidence was taken in the same meeting where board members heard allegations from its Executive Director Meghan Sprager, who caused a stir downtown with her accusing board members of harassment and bullying.

A nine-page letter to BID board members outlines Sprager’s issues with BID leadership, particularly Bruce and Gaffey.

Sprager claims that Gaffey lodged unfair complaints against BID employee John Ward’s work ethic, circulated rumors of Sprager having an affair, and made inappropriate comments about Sprager to other business owners.

At one point, Sprager’s estranged husband received an anonymous phone call telling him Sprager was having an affair.

Additionally, Sprager alleges that Gaffey asked her where she parked her car days before it was keyed and that Gaffey’s husband put Ward in physical danger on a different occasion.

Allegations against Bruce were about their inability to communicate effectively, including in discussions with Mayor Jeff Scrima.

“Since starting in as the BID’s executive director on May 9, 2011, I have come to realize that the organization is very unhealthy, and it cannot continue operating in its current state,” Sprager wrote.

“As presently configured, the lack civil discourse among the BID’s leadership provides a playground for manipulation and excessive bullying that has been documented by downtown business owners and myself," she added. "In my opinion, this is why it  has been historically difficult for the BID to retain executive directors and their key personnel.”

But Gaffey denied Sprager’s allegations, calling them “ridiculous" and “baloney.” It’s hard to change behavior or explain behavior if a person is unaware that there are problems, Gaffey said.

“If there were so many problems, why did it take 15 months to be brought up?” Gaffey asked. “I don’t understand. If she didn’t want to tell me, couldn’t she have told somebody else and they would have told me? Nothing ever was said. It is really hard to defend yourself or to help solve problems if they are never brought before you.”

Because of issues brought up during the meeting, an ad hoc committee was formed to address leadership issues and the day-to-day operations of the BID. Bruce, and board members Ron Lostetter and Stephen Kassens will be on the committee.

Johnny Paycheck September 04, 2012 at 09:32 PM
But she didn't stick around and stand up, she quit the job... And then she made a bunch of spurious accusations in a letter that drew all kinds of attention, only to have the accusations dismissed in a public hearing. She accomplished nothing and looks ridiculous...
Johnny Paycheck September 04, 2012 at 10:24 PM
A bunch of small business owners are never going to get along for long. Some are greedy, some will be bullies, some will manipulate, some cheat, some lie and everyone wants things done their own way... I really doubt that it's even possible to "fix" whatever was occurring there. As I'm sure Meghan just learned you should never wrestle with a pig because you're just going to get mud all over yourself...
Sarah Millard September 06, 2012 at 01:40 PM
There has been someone posting on here with man fake names that would mislead people to believe that they are certain business owners. This is against our terms of use. It needs to stop. Also, on a more personal note, whoever is writing these comments could be harming another person's business and reputation by pretending to be that businessman or businesswoman.
A Z September 06, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Since the news on this Patch article is being blogged about, the following commentary is appropriate (and does not mention the names, businesses or locations of the Waukesha bloggers.) A blogger is anyone with enough time or narcissism to document every tedious bit of minutia filling their uneventful lives. Possibly the most annoying thing about bloggers is the sense of self-importance they get after even the most modest bit of publicity. Sometimes it takes as little as a referral on a more popular blogger's website to set the lesser blogger's ego into orbit. Then heaven forbid a blogger gets mentioned in the Freeman. If you thought it was impossible for a certain blogger to get more pious than he was, wait until you see the sh## storm of self-righteous save-the-world bull-sh## after a Freeman plug. Suddenly the boring, milder mannered blogger you once knew will turn into Mother Theresa, and will single handedly take upon himself to end world hunger with his stupid links to boy band websites and other smug blogger paranoiacs. 
streetwise September 11, 2012 at 06:38 PM
People are saying that Vicky Hekkers, despite her claim to the Common Council, really does not have a list of assessed values and property owners that want out of the BID. Her credibility is on the line. All bark and no bite...

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