Alderman asks D.A. to look into City Council president vote

Alderman asks D.A. to look into City Council president vote

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RACINE — Alderman Sandy Weidner has asked the Racine County District Attorney’s Office to look into a City Council vote taken this week that resulted in Alderman Dennis Wiser being re-elected to a second consecutive term as city council president.

The secret ballot vote took place Tuesday at the City Council’s annual organizational meeting, at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave.

“I don’t know that any laws were broken,” writes Weidner in her inquiry, “but it is my hope that the District Attorney’s Office could provide some guidance for the aldermen if this ‘balloting’ is legitimate.”

Third District Alderman Mike Shields, who has served on the City Council for nearly 25 years, and Wiser, who was first elected to the City Council in 2010, were both nominated to run for the post — Shields by Weidner, and Wiser by 13th District Alderman Jim Morgenroth.

Aldermen turned in their ballots to the clerk; those ballots were counted by a clerk and Racine City Attorney Scott Letteney. Mayor John Dickert then announced that the winner was Wiser.

Both Shields and Weidner then asked for the vote tally, but Dickert told them it was a secret ballot and moved the proceedings along to his State of the City Address, which was the last item on the agenda.

It wasn’t until after the meeting had adjourned that Letteney disclosed the final tally, which he said was a 7-7 vote, with Dickert casting the tie-breaking ballot for Wiser.

In her inquiry emailed Wednesday to Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete, Weidner states that her concern centers on the way the secret ballot was taken; alleging that Dickert had not cast a ballot at the time he announced that Wiser had won the election. She claims that the tie-breaking ballot was not cast until sometime near the end of the meeting, when Letteney allegedly asked a clerk for a blank ballot, and then allegedly filled it out himself.

A call and email to Chiapete to confirm that he had received Weidner’s inquiry were not immediately returned Thursday, but Weidner provided a copy of Chiapete’s response to her email in which Chiapete writes that he has forwarded the inquiry on to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office for follow up.

Letteney said Thursday that he could provide no comment because he had not seen the actual inquiry.

“I don't know that any laws were broken but it is my hope that the District Attorney's Office could provide some guidance for the aldermen in if this 'balloting' is legitimate.”

— Sandy Weidner, 6th District Alderman

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