MOUNT PLEASANT — The origins of a website titled Let’s Make A Better Mount Pleasant has long been a local mystery, leading to many guesses who might be behind the posts, many of them ultra-conservative leaning. But one resident has filed a complaint alleging that South Shore Fire Department Chief Robert Stedman is the man behind the website.

Mount Pleasant resident Kelly Gallaher, who has been the subject of many of the posts on the website, filed a complaint against Stedman on May 13 with the village Police and Fire Commission.

Village Administrator Maureen Murphy confirmed Tuesday that Stedman is currently under investigation related to the matter but could not comment further.

Stedman, who has been chief of the Fire Department since 2013, declined to comment for this story.

In a letter sent to commission member James Ivanoski and Village Attorney Mary Hubacher, Gallaher states: “There is no question in my mind that Chief Stedman is the creator of this website. He has foolishly implicated himself alone and he must be held responsible for such disgusting behavior.”

The letter also states that in February, Gallaher was “diagnosed and hospitalized for post-traumatic stress disorder caused by two years of cyber-stalking, harassment, abuse, and the stunning discovery the person responsible for it was the fire chief in my own community.”

The website has not posted anything since Jan. 31, 2018.

The background

Let’s Make A Better Mount Pleasant launched in May 2017 with a focus on infighting on the Village Board, which at the time only had six members and kept running into a stalemate over attempts to appoint a seventh member.

The website was critical in particular of Trustee Gary Feest and former trustees Jon Hansen and Ken Otwaska.

By June 2017, it turned its sights on Gallaher. Its first posts about her are titled “Kelly G Meltdown” and “Is Kelly G Having a Bad Night?”

Gahaller has been critical of village operations on a number of different fronts, including regarding the Foxconn Technology Group development. She has previously suggested publicly that Village President Dave DeGroot was behind the website. DeGroot has consistently denied being part of the website.

In December, the podcast “Reply All” produced an episode titled “Negative Mount Pleasant,” which featured Gallaher prominently detailing some of the civil discourse she and other citizens have had with village officials.

After the podcast episode was released, according to a letter Gallaher sent to village officials, she learned the administrator of the Let’s Make A Better Mount Pleasant website had the login name “fchief1951.”

Gallaher alleges that Stedman has used “fchief” in a number of different email and social media accounts. Gallaher also alleges Stedman was born in 1951.

Gallaher issued a statement saying: “I believe the information put forth in my complaint to the Mount Pleasant Police and Fire Commission makes evident South Shore Fire Chief Robert Stedman’s participation in establishing, writing and maintaining this website. If true, it represents a stunning act of malfeasance by a public official in which he must be held accountable by municipal authorities.”

Stedman himself has for several years been the target of numerous, anonymous attacks in reader comments on The Journal Times website.

The Police and Fire Commission last met on May 31. As of Tuesday, the commission did not have a meeting scheduled for June.

The South Shore Fire Department serves the villages of Sturtevant and Elmwood Park in addition to Mount Pleasant.

“There is no question in my mind that Chief Stedman is the creator of this website. He has foolishly implicated himself alone and he must be held responsible for such disgusting behavior.” Kelly Gallaher, Mount Pleasant resident, regarding South Shore Fire Department Chief Robert Stedman

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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