The Waukesha Business Improvement District’s Board of Directors still does not have enough members to conduct meetings after some Waukesha aldermen were unhappy with Mayor Jeff Scrima’s appointments to the board.
Ron Lostetter, vice president of finance at Carroll University; Nick Martinez, a downtown attorney and resident; and City Administrator Ed Henschel were appointed to the board Tuesday night by the Common Council.
The board now has five working members but it needs seven board members present to meet and approve any BID-related business. Bill Huelsman and Natalie Walters were the only two remaining board members after the majority of the board resigned following outgoing Executive Director Meghan Sprager's
The Common Council is also asking Scrima to bring forward more appointments to the BID board – including an alderman – to bring more diversity to the downtown Waukesha governing body. The operations of the BID are funded by a special property tax in the downtown area.
Scrima was looking to re-appoint Jim Taylor and Roger Igielski to the board. They, along with Lostetter, were among the board members to resign. However, their appointments are on hold for now as some aldermen expressed concerns about the two resigning and then asking to be back on the board.
Both Igieslki and Taylor said they want to work to continue move the downtown forward. Alderman Roger Patton revealed during the meeting that Scrima helped spearhead the mass resignations after two council members were looking to repeal the entire board.
Patton said the board members did not “resign” but “withdrew” from the board to alleviate some of the public drama.
“They have made their decision,” said Alderman Duane Paulson. “… Some of them have, I believe, derogatory signs up in their business that there shouldn’t be a BID. I don’t know what there intent is but it didn’t put the BID in a good light. … This is not solving the problem. It is bringing the same problems back.”
Igielski and Taylor said the controversial signs were intended to be education pieces about the funding for events downtown. However, Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings described the signs as “disingenuous,” “not honest” and “counter productive.”
“It smacks the face of moving forward,” Cummings said.
The controversy stems from a resignation letter Sprager submitted in August that cited hostile working conditions from BID board members as the reason for her departure. A second document from Sprager accused then-board President Norm Bruce of having poor communication and leadership styles, and board member Lynn Gaffey of harassing behavior. They have both denied her allegations.