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VILLAGE OF MOUNT HOREB

VILLAGE BOARD MEETING MINUTES


JUNE 9, 2010

The Village Board met in special session in the boardroom of the Municipal
Building, 138 E. Main Street, Mount Horeb, WI.

Call to Order/Roll Call: Village President Steinhauer called the meeting to


order at 5:40 p.m. Present were Trustees Grindle, Anderson, DeWitt, Littel,
Haroldson and Becker. Also present were Village Administrator Bierke, Deputy
Clerk/Treasurer Danz, and Attorney Joanne Hart.

Consideration of compensation and performance evaluation data of a


Village employee, deliberating or negotiating with regard to
compensation of a Village employee, and conferring with legal counsel
who is rendering legal advice with respect to litigation in which it is or
is likely to become involved. The Village Board may go into closed
session pursuant to Wis. Stat. Sec. 19.85(1)(c), (e), and (g) to consider
compensation and performance evaluation data and deliberate or
negotiate with regard to compensation of a Village employee, and to
confer with legal counsel who is rendering legal advice with respect to
litigation in which it is or is likely to become involved. The Village
Board will reconvene into open session. Haroldson moved, Dewitt seconded
to adjourn into executive closed session as allowed by WI Statute 19.85(1)(c),
(e) & (g), carried by roll call vote. Aye: Haroldson, Dewitt, Steinhauer,
Anderson, Littel, Becker, and Grindle. Nay: None. The meeting adjourned into
Executive Session at 5:43p.m.

Present: Mary Anderson, David Becker, Janice DeWitt, Steve Grindle, Steve
Haroldson, Randy Littel, Don Steinhauer, Attorney JoAnn Hart

Attorney Hart explained:

1. The purpose of the closed session was to review legal issues that may
come up during the open session and allow the Board members to obtain legal
advice about such legal issues before the open session meeting commenced.

2. The Board would not be discussing any issues related to Larry's


performance during the closed session unless he requested the opportunity to
meet with the Board in closed session to hear from the Board confidentially the
concerns it had.

3. Discussion of legal issues related to termination of an at-will employee.

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Attorney Hart stepped out to ascertain Mr. Bierke's response to the invitation to
meet privately with the Board.

Attorney Hart returned to advise the Board that Mr. Bierke did not wish to meet
with the Board.

Closed session minutes by Attorney JoAnn Hart

Open Session: DeWitt moved, Grindle seconded to return to open session.


Motion carried by voice vote at 7:10p.m.

Consider dismissal of a Village employee. At the request of the Village


employee, the Village Board will go into open session to consider
dismissal of a Village employee. JoAnn Hart address everyone as to the
procedure to be followed in this section of the meeting. She indicated that the
members of the village board would share their position, the reason for their
positions and their concerns and then Mr. Bierke would have an opportunity to
respond. Also noted was that this agenda item does not specifically allow for
public comments, but if the board so choose, and makes a motion, public
comments could be allowed.

The remaining minutes in this section are a transcription.

Trustee Haroldson: I would be happy to start here. Obviously an awful lot of


interest in this issue tonight and it is a very difficult subject. In many ways I am
glad to have the opportunity to provide some information to the group on my
feelings on this particular issue. Certainly appreciate the people that have come
and the comments that you made earlier today and the many emails that were
sent to me with opinions. As you know, and Rollie correctly pointed out, that it is
frustrating that we could not respond with detail to those inquiries, but legal
advise to the village board was not to do that and I don’t believe in being my
own lawyer and there is that old adage that says the person that has themselves
for a lawyer has a fool for a client, so I follow that legal advice and now is an
opportunity to at least get my view point on this issue out on the table. There
are some things that aren’t of any debate and overwhelming theme of the emails
I have gotten from probably a lot of people in this room and the information that
was provided to us to and your comments today is that Larry has a lot of talents.
He is an absolute advocate of Mount Horeb and a great public personality for us.
He strongly supports commercial development especially revitalization of the
downtown. He is energetic, he’s dedicated, he’s hardworking, he’s aggressive,
he’s a great guy and he’s fun to be around he is a good friend, he is a nice
person. All of those things are true, nobody, I don’t think, on this board
disagrees with any of those attributes that Larry has. It is a given that I feel

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those same things about Larry. So why are we here and why are we discussing
whether or not Larry Bierke should be terminated. Well, and these are my
perspectives. There is a very wide philosophical difference between Larry Bierke,
I am suppose to be directing these discussions to the board aren’t I?, and the
board. There is a very wide difference of opinion in the strategic direction the
village should take between this village board and Larry Bierke. It boils down to
that Larry strongly believes that we should follow a strategy of very aggressive
growth. Significant investment in businesses especially the downtown
revitalization. Larry has, as long as I’ve know and worked with him, been saying
the village needs to buy land and put up an industrial park, put in the
infrastructure, be willing to subsidize businesses that come into the village. Larry
has suggested that we need to be able to buy any empty buildings that show up
in the downtown, and be willing to put some money into revitalizing them and
marketing them. Larry was a strong supporter of TIF 5, initially we had lots of
debate on that. Eventually did not do it. But it would have covered basically the
entire commercial area of the downtown area, and together with TIF 3 & 4
would have put almost the entire developable business area of Mount Horeb into
a TIF. Those sorts of things are very good things, I can understand why the
Chamber of Commerce and business is for it, none of those things are bad.
There is an issue though, those things have to be paid for. It costs money to do
those things, and that requires increased taxes it requires increase fees it
requires increase borrowing. Larry and I differ on that strategy. And as long as I
have been on the board, I have been on this board for 2 years and 2 months,
but these are not issues we normally deal with in public. But Larry, at his option,
has offered to have these discussions publicly, and I differ with that, especially in
this economic climate, I don’t think that is a wise course of action for the village
to follow. And Larry and I have debated this numerous times both publicly and a
few times privately and while I believe that business growth is important and I
am supportive to the downtown, I am also very supportive that the citizens of
this village are the ones who have to pay the taxes for those grand ideas and we
need a balance. Especially in an environment where there is no growth in the
village going on, when we have a very expensive development on the east side
of town that is far behind schedule. So what we have run into, is that in effect,
there is an irreconcilable difference in the strategy that we should go forward.
All of those comments I heard today and all of the comments that have been
emailed to me there was not a single comment, not a single person mentioned
that part of the responsibility of the village administrator is to manage the
finances of the village, and to keep that in mind and keep the taxpayer ability to
pay in mind. So, it is great that Larry has a passion for commercial growth in the
village and these sorts of things, he believes in it with all his heart and soul. I
just happen to disagree that that is the best course of action for the village
today. Passion and aggressiveness can be a strength, but it can also be a
weakness, if, as a result of that, you are not on the same page with the critical
people that you need to have on that side. Many of you in this room may agree

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that Larry is right and I am wrong, and I understand that, and I don’t take it
personal. Never the less, my view, I believe is the same view that the majority of
this village board, that were elected by the public, carry. And that has been an
irritation, it has been a problem. I know that Larry feels he is right, some of you
have email stating “Larry is the professional here, you guys are the board, you
ought to go with his approach. A couple other interesting emails I got from
some people say “well the board and Larry are equals. The board is required by
law to get along with their administrator”. Ladies and gentlemen, quite honestly
that is not true. The board is the boss, Larry is an employee, his responsibility is
to adjust to the wishes of this board, each board is different, it changes a little
bit every year, but this board is elected, we just had an election, I don’t think
anyone can say it was a highly contested election, we got a grand total of 4
people to run for 3 positions, but I know that all of them expressed as part of
communication to the public, that they favored a fiscal conservative approach
especially in these economic times. Now I recall a year ago, not this election, but
the previous election, Larry and I had a discussion one day, and he said he didn’t
know if he could work with the current board because his philosophy was so
different than the board. And I shared with Larry then, and I can remember the
conversation, and I hope he remembers it the same way, and I said Larry I’m
going to give you a piece of advice not as a board member, but just as a friend,
or as a father would tell his son, and that is you need to work with your boss. If
you can’t do it, if you find that you can’t adjust to this new board of directors
that was chosen by the public then I suggest you look for other work.
Somewhere you’ll be happy, because you’re not going to be happy. Work is
tough enough for anybody, and I happen to be retired now, but if you don’t
enjoy coming to work, I can’t imagine that a person is happy. That was 14
months ago, my own experience in the corporate world when asked once by a
board of directors member was how do you manage to survive at your company
when you work for 4 different CEO that all have very different views, and a
board of directors, which I reported to as well. And my answer was “Well, my
job is.. the key word is the board and CEO, that is them and I am an employee,
my job is to provide input and influence, at the end of the day my job is to
implement their principles and their policies. If I can’t do that or do not want to
do that, I should leave. If I do a poor job of it, they will probably fire me. I found
after this time, and when this issue came up, which Larry asked us to do,
evaluate his performance, I personally think that this philosophical difference of
opinion of what is the best future for Mount Horeb amounts to irreconcilable
differences. Now if we were talking about a marriage the appropriate response
would be a no fault divorce. That is why I supported offering Larry the
opportunity to resign. Thinking that would be better for him because he is not
comfortable with the village board, but it would give him a fair opportunity to
resign and set the timing of it, to position it to appear that he is taking the high
road as Larry has said he wants to take. Larry has chosen not to resign, which
has put us in a very difficult situation, and brings us to this discussion today. This

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is difficult, Larry is a nice guy. I don’t relish putting anyone on unemployment
today, what there is 17 million in this country, he has many positive attributes, I
think he will be very successful in a community that has the same objectives that
he has. It would be easier for me, and other members of the board, to just let
this ride. Continue to pay him his $85,000 a year, rubber stamp the annual
review and give him a raise. Certainly some very close friends of mine, that I
care deeply about, feel very passionately and different than I do on this. And
that does not bother me, but was does bother me is when people send me an
email and say “Steve, vote your conscious”. I vote my conscious all the time,
there is not any other way to vote it. And I have come to the conclusion that the
best thing is for Larry to look for opportunities elsewhere. It is not for any other
reason than that what I have articulated here. I think they are valid and with
good conscious, I will vote to terminate Larry Bierke. Thank you. (19:45)

Trustee Little: First of all regarding budgeting and business, we do the budgets.
Having business come into our village helps the average taxpayer. The average
homeowner, if we build homes out in the new area, chances are they will
probably have kids, and those taxes from that home, they are not going to cover
the school taxes, MATC, State and Village. By getting business in here, we
absolutely will help that tax base. While it may cost us something to begin with,
we have to look at the big picture and the long run, and I think that is what
Larry is doing. I for one do not agree with the action against our village
administrator. I find the timing of this very concerning. If there were concerns
previously and I’m learning some of these now. This is my third meeting. This
should have been taken up with the previous board, if there were problems. Why
we, the board, waited until two new members got on this board, I think that is
incredibly inappropriate. These concerns, I am probably going to learn more, I’m
sorry, I’m a little upset. I’ve dealt with numerous personnel issues in my past life.
I was an alderman in Monona for 8 years. We had personnel issues, of course.
Never had to look at a village administrator, or in that case city administrator, for
job performance to a point where we are looking to get rid of them, but certainly
with department heads. I have never gone through a process like this. I think it
is embarrassing, quite frankly, to Mount Horeb. That is all I’m going to say right
now, I may say more later, but again this whole issue just upsets me. It should
not have happened now. There should have been fair review. I’ll leave it at that
for now. (22:39)

President Steinhauer: I happy to jump in, and I’ll probably weigh in a couple of
times tonight. It appears that the bulk of the folks in the room tonight, put all
this on me. I am the village president, the shoulders aren’t huge, but we are
willing to bear some of the things that come from this, to say the least, an
uncomfortable situation. Not only for Larry, for all of us. The first thing I want to
make clear to everybody in this room. I’ve heard numerous time today, as Mr
Haroldson got some emails, vendetta seems to be a pretty good term. There is

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truly nothing farther from the truth in that statement. Larry and I have had
issues. A lot of, it’s tough, I think Mr. Haroldson did a great job here tonight, and
it is going to be very difficult to present anything as eloquent as Steve, I’m not
near as good as speaker as he is. But I do have a lot of the same concerns and
have had, most of it being to the fiscal responsibility in the village. TIF 5 was a
huge issue. I spent two years fighting it as a citizen, as a property owner in the
TIF. If I was to say that I am not thrill to death that TIF 5 ended, I’d be lying,
because I am thrilled. There was an overwhelming majority of folks at that time
that were against it, as was I, and did everything that we could to make sure
that it didn’t happen. And that is just one of the examples, because clearly
everything, let me make a point, I am not against TIFs in the concept, but I do
agree with Steve on the TIF whole-heartedly, because when you create a TIF
district anything that happens there would have happened the same without TIF
funds and I’m talking about the work getting done or whatever. The only
difference is as soon as it’s completed the money goes right back into the tax
system instead of being frozen. And in these economic times it just certainly
didn’t make sense as a village board member, or as a citizen, to be going down
that road. We have some more recent issues, I think is was horribly
inappropriate that our new utility garage building didn’t get anything brought to
our board until after a completion date. Some of you may think that is not a big
deal, but when the people come to us, like yourselves, some of you folks sitting
in this room, and what to know “how come that building isn’t getting done? How
come I heard that some of the local contractors are not getting paid?” and it’s an
issue. And I think those are issues that the village board should have been on
top of. I did not have direct contact with the folks in charge of that project, nor I
don’t think that any one of the other board members. So where does that
connection come? It comes through our administrator, and we were not getting
that. We actually had an issue that was going to be dealt with tonight that’s a
year old, and the board was going to deal with it tonight, the board just heard
about it recently. And there are other issues, and we probably could sit here and
debate it all night. I don’t wish to do that and I don’t think anyone else does. I
think we have things that have been going on that there is a true disconnect. I
heard someone tell me within the last week that Larry views the board as an
inconvenience. I agree with that statement. I agree with Mr. Haroldson, I think
it’s time for Larry to look for someplace that is a better fit for him that wants to
do aggressive, and a municipality that has all kinds of funding. I guess I’ll be
done too, I may have something to add later. (28:40)

Trustee DeWitt: I think that I agree a lot with what Steve Haroldson said. I
appreciate everyone coming I appreciate even getting the emails whether they
were positive or negative, and I received positive as well as negative. I think it is
wonderful that we have citizens that are interested in the issues and that do
come forward. I appreciate that on every issue. I don’t have any personal
vendetta, which seems to be the word of choice, but I don’t have any personal

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vendetta against Larry Bierke, he has been nice to me and we disagreed on
things. We have disagreed on procedural things, but you know, at the end of the
day, he makes his decision and the board makes theirs and he needs to follow
the board and this a really tough decision to make. I just have… I agree that
there is just philosophical differences here between myself and the way he
proceeds with things. I campaigned on getting rid of the TIF 5, I did not want
that, and I also campaigned on fiscal responsibility and I think that both of those
things were well put by Steve Haroldson, he said them as well as I could say
them. I think that those two things are very important, that there are many
things that Larry thinks are important that I don’t. I think that what I lose
confidence in is the things that are brought to me when I try to make these
decisions for the taxpayers or the constituents I represent. I want to have full
information before I make a decision, I want to be able to know that the
information is reliable, that it is accurate, that it is timely, and that it is concise
information. I want to make an informed decision for the constituents. I felt on
many occasions, that’s not what I’m receiving. I receive sort of partial
information, and I’ve spoken to Larry about this. I like to get my agenda ahead
of time, I don’t like to come to the meeting and have an amended agenda at my
place. I don’t like to have two or three sheets of paper, or letters from people
that were received a day or two before, but still I could have had those and
reviewed them. And that bothers me and I’ve mentioned it, there are some
improvements and then there are not. There are instances when I receive
information and I know things have changed on it, but I don’t get a red line
edition, I get it modify. That means that I have to then look back and find what
changes were, ask what changes are, things like that. I cannot rely in things like
that, I can’t trust it to be accurate. I don’t know then if something has been
changed. And I know there are instances of this, I have seen them over and over
in my packets of information in the last year. And that is what makes me
hesitant to the reliability of that information that I am getting and it… I think that
the communication with the internal board lacks in that respect. And I have had
complaints from citizens on how they have been treated, so the external
communication… although I’m not going to say that it’s a huge number of
complaints, but complaints as it is, and that bothers me, because I do think that
as a village administrator he has certain duties and those duties are certainly to
the taxpayers and to treat them with respect. And I have had instances where I
didn’t feel that was done, and instances where people have complained they
didn’t feel that was done. I’m not saying that is a business person or non-
business person, most of them for me that complaints I received were from non-
business people. I’m think the timeliness of the information that we received on
the utility garage I look back on some notes I recall asking finally “What is going
on with that garage?” and I recall many meetings, and you can look back on the
minutes, where we had no administrative report, and these issues were
important at that time. The garage was important, the deficit in the sewer
department certainly has been out there for years and no report was ever made.

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These are other claims for the village and those were not spoken of. We give
directives and we are not getting good responses back. I have those concerns,
the presentation of the information to me, management oversight, and some of
those things I don’t like the changes to the documents, it makes me feel like the
information I’m getting isn’t complete, isn’t accurate, and isn’t in the same vein
that I want to project and I want to protect the taxpayers I want to protect their
money and that is the fiscal responsibility I feel. I think that philosophy is just
different between the board and the administrator at this point.(35:32)

Trustee Grindle: The emails I’ve received, I’ve read every one of them, the
phone calls I got, the ones I answered I did talk to, a lot of them I was not
home. I was a little upset with some of them as far as how they made me look.
That I was a vindictive person out to get Larry. That is the furthest thing from
the truth. A year ago we went through this same ordeal and the people who
were on the board that are no longer on the board know we had that discussion
in private session and how heated it got with Larry in the room. And at that time
it was 3 3. And was the one that had to make a decision, and I was very upset
that I got put in that position way back then, I was just on the board. Me and
Larry had a conversion after that in his office a few days later, and the last thing
I told Larry was that I was not out to get him fired. As far as communications,
yes there is times when I feel like a lot of us are left out of the loop, we are not
quite told everything we need to know in a timely manner. Is it on purpose or is
it not, I have no idea. I don’t know if there was partiality done by the
administrator to certain board members, where they got privileged information
sooner than others. My reason for getting on this board and even running in an
election was because of Larry. He actually encouraged me to, because I did have
concerns about was going on in this town. The people of my neighborhood were
concerned and asked me to run. And to sit here and go through this fashion and
how this went into the press is also very disturbing. I, as a board member,
thought that if you really love a community, we could have handled this without
quite as much press. And I think the people of Mount Horeb would have showed
up to a public meeting for Larry, as they have tonight. This could have been
public, I only needed to be requested by Larry. I did not have to go to the press.
We were given a gag order to keep our mouths shut, that is why we could not
answer email or anything else or talk to the press. We did what our attorney told
us to do. It wasn’t because we did not want to talk to you, or let the public know
how we felt or why we are doing it. It is a personnel matter which we cannot
talk to you about until it is done or a request for a public hearing. As far as
Larry’s vision, yes he has a vision, is it wrong or is it right, that is debatable. My
concern is to do what is best for the people of Mount Horeb not just business. I
am in small business also, and I will vote with my conscious for the Village of
Mount Horeb and myself. (39:38)

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Trustee Anderson: I know I am kind of quiet and I’m new, and ladies and
gentlemen I do thank you for your votes, this is the very first time that I have
ever been in office. I don’t want to let anyone down, I’m a people pleaser, I
want to build bridges, I want to make everyone happy but I’ve got to look at the
big picture. I’ve got to listen more, I’ve got to ask questions, and also have to
trust less. This is a very serious responsibility being in this position. I’ve done
some research, I’ve asked some questions, I’ve gotten some answers. Although
there is a great history here, and I don’t know it all. I’m new here. I do not know
the history, and some of it is not good, and you are not privy to it and I am not
either right now. Larry’s termination was brought up before with another board.
It came very close, it did not happen. Trustees, some trustees have felt
ostracized by Larry that I found out, individually when they have disagreed with
him. So you don’t have unity here. Board reports, I’m on other boards, and the
directors, they have a report, he is on the agenda. It comes time for him to
share and he has nothing to report. I’ve come to the meetings before the
election there is really… he might share a couple of things, and so finding out
that the village garage, that we are having problems with that, he did not consult
with these guys, he did not tell them, it’s not right. I do believe there should be
due process, but I think there needs to be accountability, there needs to be
truth, there needs to be questions asked, and I don’t think he is the right
administrator for this village.

Legal Council: Any further comments.

Trustee Becker: I very seldom wait until the last but I wanted to hear all the
serious charges outlined, made, and can be backed up and are all serious
enough for dismissal. I’m still listening, I hear differences of philosophy, I hear a
vision that every community needs desperately and that is to increase tax base
and broaden it. I hear that he is a nice guy, a people person, I ran for the board
because of Larry. Regarding evaluations, a few points about evaluations, I
decided to look through some minutes when I found myself on the board, I
found myself on the personnel committee. I wanted to look back and see what
the evaluation process was in the recent past and all I see in the minutes, and I
understand there was closed session, February 4th 2009, the performance
evaluation was approved, no issues, no problems. On March 4th there was a
reprimand given to Larry regarding the open meeting law situation. Don’t know
the results, don’t know what all came about, but it was a reprimand to Larry. It’s
not that I’m shakin’ your armor Larry I just wanted to understand that I found
some serious dirt here. July 22nd 2009 the board decided to renegotiate his
contract. We extended it 2 years to April 9th 2011 with a raise of $1,000. There
was no comprehensive performance review. As Mr. Hoffman indicated he and
Rollie and someone else from the personnel committee prepared a document. At
one personnel committee meeting we agreed that we were going to utilize that
document and we asked Larry to evaluate himself, which he did. We set another

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meeting a few weeks later. I was prepared, I read his evaluation very carefully, I
put my thoughts on paper, point by point, as he did, and went to the meeting
and discovered that we were going into closed session and we were not going to
discuss his evaluation, we were going to discuss potential termination. So ladies
and gentlemen of the board I am going to present to you my evaluation of Larry
Bierke, which is why we are here, from what I understand. We are suppose to
evaluate his performance and based on that evaluation we are to decide whether
or not to terminate his contract. Isn’t that why we are here? Okay. Several
points, I’m going to preface this because I think it’s important that you
understand where I am coming from as a representative of the Village of Mount
Horeb. 28 years ago, or there about, I got a couple of plaques to put on my wall
from the Rotary Club. And I looked at that plaque in that same office for 25 plus
years. One of them is called the 4 weight test. Which is a test how we should
evaluate everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do. Four
simple tenants that I think we ought to gauge our lives by. I have and I have
been blessed as a result. Number one, is it the truth? Number two, is it fair to all
concerned? Number three, will it build goodwill and better friendships. Number
four, is it beneficial to all concerned? Pretty tall order, because sometimes
fairness is in question. Truth is never in question. Goodwill, that’s easy, it is if
you love people. Better friendships, I can appreciate Steve having some
disagreements and I have some disagreements with Larry and sometimes we are
both better as a result because his ideas may help me form my ideas. Beneficial
to all concerned, I guess that is probably the real reason I’m in public service. So
I looked at this evaluation with those things in mind. Bullet point one, analytical
and problem solving. The identifying and solving of problems and finding
effective solutions. I’m not going to read Larry’s evaluation, that is available to
you, I believe, you said you would make it available, but I have mine. And I’m
going to be glowing here, Larry has an ability to see past a problem to a solution
more quickly than most. In almost all cases that I have observed, he has
reserved his judgment, however, until he has gathered enough facts to make a
decision. He does consider options and how the decisions will impact the effected
parties. He also considers the impact on the current budget. He seeks direction
from the board on many of the decisions that he does make. At times he reports
the decision made and has to bring some of us up to speed, because he is
charged with making some decisions. He has a good handle on what decisions
he is free to make and what needs board direction. The board, however, may
disagree with this statement. There have not been many decisions that he has
made, in my opinion, that have been detrimental to the operations or the
reputation of the Village of Mount Horeb. Communications both internal and
external within and outside of the department. In this case, within and outside
the village. Local government has become more and more complicated due to
the mandates from state and federal governments. We have avoided conflict
with these bodies, in large part I believe, because Larry has kept pace with the
changes directed at our village. We do hear from him regarding pressing issues

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and at times, he could be allowed hopefully, to take more time to bring us up to
speed. Communication is truly an art and in our village I have come to believe
that as his roll as a communicator he could be described either as he tells us
every move he makes or he is on his own and he better not make a mistake.
Somewhere in between is the proper behavior and with the change of presidents
and board members Larry sometimes doesn’t really know what is expected of
him. He does a very good job at promoting interest in Mount Horeb, both to
those who interview him on the public media and those who might walk into his
office. I graded him higher than he did here because sometimes it seem he
needs help in determining just what his role is in communicating to the board,
and what ways he can act independently in his role as administrator. We could
truly give him more consistent direction and he often asks “What do you want
me to do?” with little or no response and no direction. This question deserves
consideration as he wants to do what is best for the board, the staff, and the
community in my view. Planning-both the process and organization as well as
budgeting. This is a real strength for Larry. His budgeting abilities in both
planning and implementing are excellent and he has the future of the village in
mind when he makes plans. He would like to see growth in the commercial/retail
sections of the village and he knows it will make our task much easier as we
deliberate budget and levy issues. A long term thinker, sometimes he is out
ahead of us. But I much prefer that to someone we have to drag along to get up
to speed. I’m very comfortable with both his diplomatic efforts and his budgetary
knowledge. It would be my hope that he could continue to work to make TIF 3
become viable, and a positive addition to the village. The work done in helping
develop the revolving loan fund as the possibility to enhance the progress of the
village by bringing reasonably high paying jobs to the community that through
attrition can be made available to our citizens. And the increase in the Hoff Mall
building value will generate additional tax dollars to the village and the school
district. Regarding the… I just want to mention the utility garage if I can because
we are talking about the reporting to the village board and so forth… I’ve been in
business 40 and a half plus years. Whenever I have a question I have to find
somebody who knows just a bit more than I do, and I tell people as I’m getting
older, I have only learned how to ask more intelligent questions, and I know a
few more people who may have the answers. So, when I am looking for
someone to fix my car, I’m going to find a mechanic, and I’m going to trust his
work. When I’m going to look for a doctor to do surgery on my wife I want to
have a good one and I’m going to trust him. I’m not going to look over his
shoulder, I’m not going to stand in the room and say “Hey, do it here, do it
there”. In our world we are becoming more and more specialized, medical field
and in every field. We rely on professionals to guide us. The garage project
was… the contract was negotiated by Strand Associates, which we received a
very good contract, we received a very good bid. The economy took it’s toll on
everybody. There were meetings after meetings after meetings. I shutter when I
think of what this board could have done if we would have heard back in October

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that thing was in trouble. The make-up of this board is to grab your car and run
down there and kick some butt, and demand some answers. Which is not our
job. We are not going to micro manage this building or this village. We hire
professions and they do their job. There was a chess match, there was a game
going between the bonding company and the contractor and the engineer to
make the move to close the contractor at the right time when the bonding
company was ready to take over. The goal was to have the building built to
specifications at the earliest possible time. Which one of us could do that, up
here? What could we add to that mix? Nothing. Nothing. Okay let’s go back to
policy development. The administrator's role encompasses a wide variety of
responsibilities. He is responsible for the day to day operations of the village and
this requires someone who is aware of what is happening, has the respect of his
department heads, can evaluate situations that need additional input from either
legal or engineering professionals and can express the scope of the issues to the
village board. He has tried to secure a consultant to evaluate our departments to
determine if efficiencies can be accomplished. He has the ability to craft
ordinances that require only minor changes to be enacted by the board and
carried out by the proper authorities. Except for the dog and cat one we are
dealing with right now. We are struggling with how many chickens we should
have. He meets with all committees in the village and maintains a line of
communication between them and can report intelligently from one to the other.
The employee handbook which has been kicked around for several years and
finally brought to the floor and I think we have looked at eighteen pages of it
and I think that is a far bigger accomplishment than what has happened in the
past, and I’m pleased we are doing it, because this way village departments can
be helped to operate more smoothly while employees knowing what is expected
of them and also outlines their rights as employees. The main hands on job Larry
has is personnel management and administration. He has an open door to
department heads and seems to know all the employees quite well, works well
with and is respected by the office staff, and at the same time is required to
evaluate department heads to make certain that proper people take advantage
of training opportunities. He has the benefit of a well trained, well disciplined,
loyal and dedicated workforce and Mount Horeb ought to be proud of our village
personnel. They are outstanding. Being the boss isn’t easy, but I believe Larry
does respect each employee, no matter at what level, and I believe he has their
respect as well. Relationship with the Village President and Village Board…Larry
has expressed frustration because he is not getting consistent direction from the
Village Board and the Village President. This is not a criticism of Larry, the board
or the president. The Committee of the Whole concept seems to have its pluses
and I like it. However, it seems our objective is to try and save time more than
dig into the issues that a committee might do at a committee meeting. I think we
miss some points there. As a result, with so many issues coming up, we don’t
stop and ask Larry, what would be described in his evaluation as “an opportunity
to make recommendations or provide history on the issues that the Village Board

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is facing”. With new and newer members here we need this, we need this
history, we don’t have it. We could add up all our years and they hardly add up
to fifteen, but they are the same years 1,2 or 3. We need that history and Larry
can bring it to us with 5 years of good experience. During his tenure here he has
learned a great deal about our village and although I have lived here for 33
years I’m impressed with the depth of knowledge he has about issues, laws,
practices, and the history of our community. He is more sensitive to our positions
than we give him credit for. We might review his job description and share it
with the board and if it needs change, than we can change it. But we all should
know what is expected of him and he should know what is expected of him to
give him the freedom to function within the parameters of the job description.
I’m almost finished. Time management, accuracy, thoroughness and follow
through, and use of resources: I have found Larry to be very prepared for all
meetings contrary to what you have heard tonight. When we get something this
day, it was delivered this day, not two days earlier, not three days earlier. We
have instant communication. It’s on the website, it's in the email and if we want
it, we can just look for it, and it’s there. He has been very prepared. I’ve had
some issues that he has, at times, not had the proper documentation but offered
to get it, if we needed it. He would go downstairs and get it, if we wanted it. He
has the background and experience to use resources that are appropriate for our
course of work and in some cases brings a new look to the issue. We how about
that. Maybe we don’t agree, but it is a new look. His work week is extremely
long and he is still accessible if I need him. During his tenure there have been
many zoning issues and changes and he has been able to provide the input and
has the expertise to provide the language necessary to make the zoning
ordinance understandable and enforceable. There are many of these criteria that
are overlapping and I can only say that I appreciate his promptness in response
to my questions and his response to the residents and business community. I
have a feeling tonight that there is going to be a vote, and it’s not going to be
sweet. So I venture a statement of some goals for Larry might be so much into
the wind, but I just want you to know, he asked for goals, what are some goals,
he wanted to have a goal setting session like he did last year. So some goals for
Larry: Oversee and work closely with the village engineer on the Lake Street
project. To answer questions and complaints that residents might have and to be
in communication with the engineer to help solve the problems. To continue to
work with the Plan Commission and the developers to strive for a positive
outcome on TIF 3 and to communicate to us the progress in this area. To have
another strategic planning session with the board, he brought it up a few weeks
ago. Perhaps bring in the department heads again for another presentation, a
wonderful, wonderful thing for all of us. Continue pursuing evaluation process
with the proper consultant to determine efficiencies, or lack thereof, in village
departments. Help maintain a position of promoting Mount Horeb to be out in
front, with the village president and the chamber director and telling anyone who
might listen that Mount Horeb is as terrific place to live, work, and shop. He

6/09/10 Village Board Meeting Page 13


should also continue working with the administrator of the Mount Horeb schools
with the goal of a unified commitment to communicate better and face common
issues with the attitude of working together for the common good. Bottom line, I
am pleased that we have someone in this position with his background, his skills,
and his education. He is younger than all of us, but that does not mean we can
teach him how to function. He seeks direction, and I’m afraid right now, he is
getting so many mixed messages from the village board members he does not
know which way to turn. We can disagree, we can differ in approach but he has
a huge responsibility and it is our role to give consistent direction, set policy, and
together with him and all the folks that work under him set a tone that is forward
looking and in the end strive to do what is best for the Village of Mount Horeb
both now and in the future. My hats off to you Larry, I’m embarrassed for what
you had to hear tonight. You heard nothing, nothing, that can’t be looked at and
tweaked and developed. You have heard differences of philosophy, so what, so
what. You have heard such weak, such weak charges. There is not a
performance based item on anybody who chooses to dismiss you they can
honestly make and say it means you should be dismissed. I am embarrassed, I
am ashamed, and just cannot believe that these people will vote to terminate
your contract. That is all I have to say.

Legal Council: Does anyone have further comment. Mr. Littel.

Trustee Littel: Mr. Becker thank you, you’ve got much more past knowledge on
Larry than I do. I very much appreciate everything you just said. The person
sitting in this chair I have no problem with whatsoever in my short time. I have
also dealt with him as a citizen and have had absolutely no problems. I’ve heard
nothing that can’t be dealt with as David just said, and I’ll try not to repeat a
whole lot of what you just said, that can’t be dealt with, with Larry. I’m afraid
that what a majority of this board wants, is someone sitting it that chair that is a
puppet. I don’t want a puppet. I want to be challenged, and it sounds like this
board has been challenged and they didn’t like it. I’m sorry, it’s going to happen.
You know what else is going to happen, no matter who is sitting in this chair?
You will get material the night of the meeting, it will happen, it will always
happen. I still want to hear, and I’ll repeat what David said, I still want to hear
some compelling arguments why we should get rid of Larry. Again, I’m the new
guy, but I’ve got some experience with these issues. This is not the way to deal
with it.

Trustee Becker: I’ll respond to that. Without any just charges, the only
conclusion I can come to is personal vendetta.

Trustee Haroldson: I resent that.

Trustee Becker: That’s fine. It’s my opinion.

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Legal Council: Any further comment from any board member?

Trustee Haroldson: Bottom line, I do not believe the tax payers of this village can
afford Larry Bierke’s vision.

Trustee Becker: The board sets the policies Steve, and Larry carries it out.

Trustee Haroldson: That is right.

Trustee Becker: He went along with TIF 5, and what did he do, get even? When
we voted down TIF 5. You and I voted together, and what did Larry do? Did he
pout? Did he try some other way to needle us? Did he try some other scheme
that was going to hurt the village?

Trustee Haroldson: I doubt that any thing that I will say will change your mind.
Nothing you have said will change mine. My review, if I filled the form out like
that, would have been quite different. If Larry Bierke worked for me, in private
business, and I had spent two years plus and we had debated again, and again
the strategical action of my company. I would have said you know Larry, you
might be right, but you are right for another organization and not for mine and
lets discuss how we can separate this with reasonable terms. We aren’t going to
agree on this. I think that I am doing, in good conscious, what I think is in the
best interest of the tax payers of this village.

Trustee Becker: You are one board member and I am one board member. You
don’t own the company, you don’t run the show. You were saying if he was an
employee of your company, you don’t own the company. We are suppose to be
collective, we are suppose to be unified. You are about to split this village, and
we should at least decide to come together and evaluate Larry and give him
some direction, give him the pluses and minuses and watch him grow yet
another step.

Trustee Haroldson: Well I’ve spent two years and two months and these issues
that are in front of us today are no different than the issues back then, and I
think two years and two months is sufficient.

Trustee Becker: And I think a good evaluation would bring it to the surface and I
think we could all work to correct them. And we do it in a positive way, not to
cut the guy off at the knees.

Trustee Haroldson: I don’t know what has happened in Verona, I know their
administrator has left. I don’t know what happened in DeForest, I know their
administrator left. I don’t know what happened in Black Earth, but I know their

6/09/10 Village Board Meeting Page 15


administrator has left. I don’t know anything more about those accept the fact,
that it happens, and this is a tough job in this environment. And you can’t please
everybody, but you should, if you are the administrator, and you report to the
board of directors, you better please the majority of the board of directors, which
in this case is a village board. And that is the bottom line, and you can disagree,
and make fun of my approach of putting the tax payers first, cause I do believe
that is what I am doing. I don’t believe that I’m not interested in the tough
economic times that we are in, the tough budgeting, to have an administrator
who has a completely different view. Who’s view is we should raise taxes to the
maximum that the state allows to do. We should add more fees and take them
off the tax rolls and move them into the utility bills. We should borrow more
money and go deeper in debt. I don’t have that philosophy, that is not what I
ran on when I ran for village board, and I have been frustrated by it, I think
Larry would be much happier in a different environment than this. And it’s
difficult, but that is my feelings and I hope people would respect that that’s a
conclusion I’ve come to, whether or not they think it’s the right conclusion. And
don’t put any other motives behind it than that. It's what I believe.

Trustee Becker: And it’s grounds for termination in your eyes?

Trustee Haroldson: Yes.

Trustee Anderson: Could there be a survey of all the past trustees that have
been under his administrations, the village before us, could there be a survey of
that village or city? There is a history.

President Steinhauer: I want to interject something. I don’t like… I was hoping


we would not get to this, I certainly don’t… I know you guys are friends. This is
not an easy situation for any of us, and I hope that the people watching, folks in
the audience, don’t think any of us are happy to be doing this. If you think…
Steve Haroldson pouring his guts out… it’s not fun. And I hope that no matter
what the vote is here tonight whether it’s 7-0 to fire Larry or 7-0 to keep him or
4-3 or 5-… take your pick. Understand, everybody, this is not a lot of fun for all
of us. We didn’t expect Mount Horeb to become the circus this week. I can
promise you, to the best of my knowledge, there is not one of these seven
people here that made this public, that allowed that to happen. I don’t know if
Larry did, I don’t know if Mike McNall did, I don’t know who did. It makes no
difference to me. None of us did, and whether you like us, dislike us, agree with
us, or not agree with us. There is not one person up here, that wanted this to
happen this way here tonight. And I think it’s important that all of you know
that, cause none of us are having a great time.

Trustee Becker: I disagree, I wanted this to happen tonight. I wanted this out in
the open, I’m tired of sneaking around.

6/09/10 Village Board Meeting Page 16


Legal Council: I just want to make one point, and it’s just a legal point. We are
here tonight because Mr. Bierke has the right to have this meeting held in open,
and we gave him notice of that last week Wednesday and he elected to have it
in open. So it is not a choice issue of the board wanting it to do one way or
another way. We told Mr. Bierke last week that he would have this option and he
chose to have it in open and he let us know that yesterday. So we did not know
before yesterday, whether this proceeding would be conducted in open session
tonight or in closed. Please don’t read anything into any silence on the part of
these board members or anything else because, as I believe has been said fairly
articulated, they were told not to speak about this, because Mr. Bierke had not
made his decision whether or not this would be in open or closed until he
notified us yesterday afternoon. So, I don’t think we need to debate about
whether it’s a good thing or it’s a bad thing, it was a choice that he made. He
made the choice and that is why we are here. So, I would like to keep the
discussion focused on the reasons, I appreciate the fact that everyone has been
very attentive and I would like to continue to move it along. I would like to know
if there are any further comments by any board members before we allow Mr.
Bierke to make his comments and determine if anything further needs to be
stated and then we can move to the motion if there is one. Any further
comments from board members?

Trustee Littel: Not at this moment, but I may…

Legal Council: Yes, understandable, and it is my intention that after Mr. Bierke
speaks any board members who wish to speak again will certainly have that
opportunity.

Trustee Grindle: I would appreciate that.

Legal Council: Okay, Mr. Bierke

Administrator Bierke: I thank every one of you for allowing me to do this in open
session. I do believe that having it in open session is for the benefit of the
community. And I appreciate you coming forward with your list of wrongs that
you believe are reason for termination. I’ve written a few of them down, haven’t
been able to get them all or chose not to get some of them. But there are a few
things that I believe this board is burdening onto my shoulders that are not
accurate and not appropriate. First off, after surviving, I’m assuming I’m a
survivor until the vote occurs. I’ve been through 16 different trustees in 4 years
and 2 months. 16 different bosses, 3 village presidents. And I do remember the
conversation that Steve and I had at the Grumpy Troll in front of the window.
Where I was discussing that Mr. Steinhauer and I got into a little argument over
firing Strand and the utility garage situation. And Mr. Haroldson advised me that

6/09/10 Village Board Meeting Page 17


I need to get along with my boss, and I remember disagreeing with you. I
believe Mr. Steinhauer is one of seven and at that time I did not feel that was
appropriate. I’m not going to change my philosophy on doing what is best for
the community, to make one person happy. I will do what the whole board
wants. So, my job is to manage the village on a day to day basis and take
various responsibilities that the board assigns to me. One of those responsibilities
was to oversee the utility garage, and in fact, that was one of goals that the
village board wrote for me in 2009. Part of that process was to attend monthly
meetings, and through those monthly meetings I was told that they would
continue with their contract, and was only after we had them, Gilbert
Construction, violating their contract, that we were able to do anything. And at
that point it was brought to your attention. That they have violated the contract
and that we needed to seek legal council.

Legal Council: Can I ask you to just pause right there for just a minute.

Administrator Bierke: You need to change the recorder?

Legal Council: No. Can I speak with you just briefly? I don’t know anything about
this issue. I just need to get some information before you make any further
comment. I’m sorry he will have all the time in the world…

Administrator Bierke: Why don’t I skip to another issue, I’ve got plenty.

Legal Council: I just… The only concern that I have is that I know that the board
met in closed session with another attorney, that I do not know anything about
I’m concerned…

Administrator Bierke: I’ll skip it.

Legal Council: I think Mr. Bierke understands my concern and that was the only
concern I was raising.

Administrator Bierke: It’s not worth it. I was just trying to bring up the point
that I’m doing what I think is being directed by the village board.

Legal Council: Just so that… I don’t want to appear to be shutting down a point
you want to make. Let me just say that the concern is that there was a closed
session discussion about a pending legal action. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know,
and can’t advise the board or Mr. Bierke about whether or not anything that
could be said here has a bearing on that litigation. And it has nothing to do with
Mr. Bierke or the boards view on it, that is the only reason I raise the issue.

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Administrator Bierke: Several of the trustees here today have mentioned my
vision for the community is different than your vision. And I can understand
those sentiments. You are new to the board, most of you have been here very
short periods. But I want you to know there is a village comprehensive plan that
has been adopted by the village board that serves as the governing document
for the vision. And that is what I have followed as my directive until hearing
otherwise from the village board. If you look at the comprehensive plan, yes an
industrial park is part of that, benefiting the community through tax incremental
financing is a part of that, and that is what I have taken my direction from where
to take the village. At any point you are more than welcome to ask questions and
if your vision was different than the comprehensive plan, you are more than
welcome to refer to that and amend it. There is a process in place, that Mr.
Haroldson is familiar with. As far as TIF District 5, if you recall TIF District
number 5 was discussed in 2008 and early 2009. When the new elected officials
took office in 2009, the first action that they took at the first meeting was to
terminate the discussion on TIF District number 5, the downtown. The issue has
not been brought up since, the village board has not discussed it since. It is very
clear for me in interpreting what the village board wants, that there is not
support for TIF District number 5. Therefore I am doing my job in responding to
you and not pursuing TIF District number 5. Prior to that meeting, the village
board was in favor of it and was behind it, and in fact had directed me to
continue to pursue TIF District number 5, and in fact made that a goal of mine to
pursue TIF District number 5. So, it is only after the politics of the board
changed, one of the 16 new trustees came on and the priorities changed of the
village board. My job is to react to you and your priorities and that is what I did.
The discussion ended at that point when the village board voted it down. I just
want to make sure that this is clear so that some of you that may not have been
here at the time are familiar with what actually occurred. Jan you brought up
some great points. The village does get last minute documents and to that
extent I have done everything I could to get them in front of you as soon as I
can. If in fact a document is at your place, it is something that I just recently
received. In fact sometimes they are handed out that evening at the meeting,
and there isn’t anything I can do about that. If you want documents ahead of
time, you will have to tell the public to stop handing you documents two days
before the meeting. I can’t stop them. Amended agendas, that has nothing to do
with me as a village administrator. I don’t amend the agendas. That is not my
role. The village agenda is set by your village president and that is any
amendments that go forward are with the village president’s approval. So if you
have a problem with the amended agendas, you’ve got to take it up with the
village president. That is not my role. Utility garage, that seems to be an issue
that’s been bringing up a lot of questions lately… I’m sorry we are not…Sewer
deficit, one of the trustees brought up the sewer deficit, I think it was Ms.
DeWitt. The village of Mount Horeb is in a sewer deficit situation. You have been
brought up on that every year since 2007, 2008, 2009. Every year we have

6/09/10 Village Board Meeting Page 19


looked at raising sewer rates and every year I explain that there is a much larger
rate needed, a much larger increase needed, and every year we get 5%. If you
are willing to go higher than 5% the utility commission and the village really
needs to do that and now we see why. In fact I recall a conversation at the
meeting, we have got Ms. DeWitt on tape saying, I don’t want to do an increase,
I would rather we go in the negative, we’ve got it on video tape, and really that
is the wrong type of attitude to have as a trustee. Here I am preaching to my
boss, I really didn’t expect this. But as a village trustee you have to do what is
responsible for your community whether it be budget, whether it be increases.
I’m not out here looking for reasons to increase your budget. I’m not looking for
tax increases, I don’t want to raise the sewer rates. These are budgets that the
village board has approved and incurred these expenses if we are not making
ends meet, we’ve got to fix it. If our connection fee revenue isn’t were it is
suppose to be for the sewer utility, we’ve got to fix it, we have to find a way to
fix it. And repeated attempts to bring this before the village board has resulted in
5% increases which, unfortunately, does not cover the inflation. In those years,
electric rates alone have gone up significantly. So, I think at this point the village
board believes that they are acting in the best interest of the village and I can
appreciate that I’m not going to draw this out any longer, I think you guys know
what you are going to do and with that I just want to tell you most importantly
how much I’ve really enjoyed working for the village. I do like it in Mount Horeb.
I love this community. I continue to do everything I can to help Mount Horeb
and if you decide tonight to terminate I’ll understand, I’ll move on. I’m a young,
educated man, I’ll find something somewhere, but I want you to know that I
really appreciate the time you did allow me to stay. Thank you.

Legal Council: Thank you, okay is there further comment from any board
members? Mr. Littel.

Trustee Littel: Mr. Bierke, you are a class act. This village should be proud to
have you, and if this village gets rid of you, it will be a sad day, a very sad day. I
appreciate all you have done for the village. I’ll say it again, I’m the newbie, I
didn’t have a lot of this background, and apparently there is more background
that has not been brought up that I don’t know about. I wish I did, because I
have a feeling it’s not grounds for dismissal. Nothing I have heard tonight is
grounds for dismissal. I would like to make a motion that we allow public
comment.

Trustee Becker: I’ll second it.

President Steinhauer: Okay, we have a motion and a second to allow public


comment.

Trustee Littel: I would like a roll call.

6/09/10 Village Board Meeting Page 20


Trustee Grindle: Can we have discussion on it?

President Steinhauer: Yea, discussion?

Trustee Grindle: Are we going to have it before or after we are done talking?

Trustee Littel: I guess we can still talk in between the motion couldn’t we?

Trustee Haroldson: I favor allowing public input for as long as the public wishes
to talk. If… we mentioned before that city council of Madison recently took until
7:30 in the morning to decide on the Edgewater building, if that is how long
people want to talk about it, I’m happy to stay, and I think they should have an
opportunity to talk. They have listened to us. There is no harm

Trustee Little: And we can continue to talk in response to anything anyone says.

Trustee Haroldson: It may be a painful experience but I am willing.

Roll Call: Steve Grindle-Yes, David Becker-Yes, Randy Littel-Yes, Mary Anderson-
Yes, Don Steinhauer-Yes, Janice DeWitt-Yes, Steve Haroldson-Yes

Steinhauer moved, Becker seconded to take a break at 8:35pm before public


comments. Motion carried by voice vote.

Public comments began at 8:50pm. The following persons spoke during public
comments: Dave Hoffman, Jim Buechner, Mike McNall, Mark Rooney, Shannon
Paprocki, Pamela Lunder, Susan Tweedy, Michael Anderson, Amy Mertz, Tracy
McKay.

Transcription continues as the board members comment after the public


comments.

Trustee Littel: As it has already been stated, we did have advice from our legal
council not to talk to anybody about this issue and anything that happened in
closed session, and that is good advice. What I took from that is, that I can
certainly talk to you, I can certainly listen to you, and believe me a lot of you
called me, and I’ve got caller ID. But I picked up the phone. I got a couple of
messages that my wife took and I called back, and if I missed anybody I
apologize. I read all the email, I counted today it was up to 20, and I’m sure that
when I get home it will be more than that, and I read them, and I appreciate the
comments. I appreciate your involvement, I wish some of you would come to
some other meeting too, it’s kind of boring but it takes an issue like this to bring
a community together, but I appreciate everything that you have done being

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here as late as it was. One comment that I did want to make I think Janice it
might have been you, that you had some complaints about Larry in the past, I’m
sure you have, and if Larry can stay with us, guess what, I’m going to get some
too. And I’m going to have complaints about me, cause if you don’t have
complaints about someone there is something wrong. So we will have
complaints, I don’t know what those complaints were, one person mentioned,
I’m sorry I don’t remember who it was, mentioned that a lot of this is just
coming forth now, we are just learning about it. Why did we run… if we were for
or against… if I knew anything before this, I would have run for Larry. None of
this was brought to my attention. Everybody was pretty quite. I know there were
some concerns, but I did not know at my third meeting, or whatever it was, that
we were going to ask Larry to resign. It is clear now that I was not in favor of
that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this process is a little unusual to me.
I have more experience than anyone on the board. It is disconcerning, I’m sorry
that you all had to sit through this, I’m sorry we had to sit through this. But I am
glad it is out in the open and I do also agree that I don’t think any of us brought
this to the media prior to Larry talking to the media, as was in the State Journal.
Again I appreciate what Larry has done for us. Maybe someone on the board
here has changed their mind, I know I haven’t. I can only hope for the best. I do
agree that, it would be wise to give Larry direction, it only makes sense. Have
there have been personal issues with him, I don’t know, I have not been privy to
those conversations. I have no personal issue with Larry, never had a reason to,
haven’t known him that long either. But a lot of you have, and I appreciate your
comments, I doubt any of you were up here stating your comments or stating
whatever you may have heard, I don’t know that you were lying. I cannot go on
hearsay, obviously I can only say what I know. And I’m going to tell you right
know and I use this in a more positive sense, I’m still ignorant on the subject,
and I’m a voting member. The way this was handled, the way this was done, I’m
sorry, we don’t have two new trustees and throw this at them, before we even
have our feet in the water. Yes I’ve stated that I’ve got some experience, but I
don’t have experience with Mount Horeb. I don’t know what has been going on
in the past. If someone wanted me to vote a different way, I would have thought
that I would have been inundated with this, this, this, and this. This is our
problem, this is what is going on. I listen, maybe I would have had a different
opinion, I don’t know, because I did not have the information. All I know is what
I know. And when I talked with many of you on the phone, no I did not disclose
anything that was in closed session. And I did have the courtesy to call back a
Channel 3 reporter, because I didn’t think anyone else would call her, and I
simply stated that we cannot give you an opinion. We cannot state what
happened in closed session. And ironically she even mentioned that in her report,
that she did have contact from one board person. That was me, I did not do
anything against legal advice, I simply said we can’t talk about it. No one else
called her back. I just thought it was a courtesy. If that was wrong, sorry, I’m a
nice guy. I’m calmed down a little bit more from before, and if I was shaking,

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quite frankly it was probably because I was cold, my wife brought this to me.
Thank you again for being here, and Larry I can’t make a judgment of what is
going to happen it has been suggested perhaps if you need a reference, I’ll give
you a reference. Nothing says that I can’t give you a reference. Maybe the board
can’t give you a reference. Not that my reference is going to do a lot, I’ve only
been on the board a short time, but let’s put it this way, I can certainly give you
a personal reference. That I can do. Thank You.

Legal Council: Okay, any other comments by the board members?

Trustee Haroldson: I want to make one comment about the process, and I’m not
happy about the process that these sorts of things take either. But a few of you
have commented that you think potentially that the process was illegal or
inappropriate. All I can tell you is that we have followed directions on process.
There are laws that apply. Nobody had any intention of doing anything illegal, I
don’t believe we have erred in the process. It isn’t a clean, pretty process, but it
is the way the process should be handled, and I just want to put that out. To my
knowledge, we followed the process as required by Statute and law as messy
and unfulfilling and lack of information to the public that it required it’s to my
knowledge that is what is required by law.

Trustee Becker: I would agree that the process was followed. I responded no
comment. As a matter of fact, somebody said I see Dave Becker made no
comment, and I said “Yea, it made news all by itself”. But I did hear tonight that
there are other alternatives. There is counseling, there’s time and I wonder if the
chair would entertain a motion to table this issue.

Trustee Littel: If that is a motion I seconded it.

Trustee Becker: I would like to make a motion to table this issue until a future
meeting.

Trustee Littel: I will second that adding that I believe it should be our duty to
fairly give Larry information regarding his performance. Coach him if that is what
is needed. Let him understand what we all want as far as his performance and
what direction I guess is what I’m saying, give him the appropriate direction
which I don’t think he has had.

President Steinhauer: Is that still a second?

Trustee Littel: That is still a second that got long winded.

President Steinhauer: So, discussion. Before we take the vote I have a couple of
things. I agree with everybody up here, I agree with probably everyone in the

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audience, do I think this was a good procedure? No. I do take heart to the
comment about doing things at night that I wouldn’t do during the day. For what
it’s worth, I do have the most tenure on this board. And have yet to see a
personnel issue since I have been on the board handled in a situation like this.
Typically, personnel issues are handled through the closed session process. I
didn’t write the law. I don’t know that I necessarily have an opinion whether the
law is fair or not. I think it is fair to say, this is the first time any of us have dealt
with this and I agree with… the way things have been done in the past only
because usually, I would say that it is probably in whosever’s best interest that
the personnel issue is about, isn’t aired as dirty laundry. You may agree with
that, and you may not. I personal think that this issue could have been handled
in the same circumstance. Whether you agree with it or not, this is the way it
went. I just want to reiterate, you know I don’t think there are any of us that are
having a blast. I’m sure Larry Bierke is not having a blast. Anybody else have any
discussion.

Trustee Grindle: I do. Larry we had a meeting last year and I told you I would
not fire you because I had a grudge against you, and I’m a man of my word. Are
there issues with me on some of the things you do? Yes. I’ve learned quite a bit
from Dave and Mike in one year, and it was being fair. I haven’t changed my
mind, or my opinion. Do I like this process? No. Did we do it wrong? Yea. I’ve
had a week to think about this process, and yes I did talk to several people. The
people that I have talked to in the last couple of days, we looked at a ten year
plan and what my vision was for this town. And the thing is, I can’t… and I hope
that the new board members remember one thing if this does go to a vote, that
just because you are new, don’t hide behind that, and go with the flow. My wife
told me, you have to make up your mind and you have to live with it. Don’t go
with what people think you’re going to do. And I’ve thought really long on this, I
haven’t slept for over a day. And I encourage us to table this, because I don’t
want the two new board members to have to make that decision. It is not fair to
them, or the people of Mount Horeb. Can we handle this in a different way? Yes.
We had talked and argued last year about performance reviews. I’ve dealt with
unions, I’ve worked to get people fired then, but it was done by a procedure and
you followed every step. In my conscious there is no way I can support firing
Larry. And I hope the new board members don’t have to vote either.

President Steinhauer: Any other discussion? We have a motion and a seconded


to table this.

Trustee Becker: Roll call.

Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: Steve Haroldson – This is to table –

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Trustee Haroldson: It seems through the luck of the draw, and my expectations
of the feelings on the board. That my vote is pivotal, and maybe since I was
dumb enough to volunteer to speak first I deserve this. Can I vote and say
something at the same time?

A short discussion included that discussion had ended when Haroldson’s name
was called for a vote.

Trustee Haroldson: Deciding to terminate somebody is a very, very serious thing.


And I made it clear what my view was in my opening remarks. I do believe, and
I was willing, to see this be a 5-2 vote, because I disagreed with Randy and
Dave my esteemed colleagues here. I’m not prepared to see this be a 4-3 vote.
And given Steve’s comments, and I respect that, and it is that comment, and
yours and yours alone, and I respect the words out there that everyone has said,
but I do believe this is a board responsibility. Yes we’re elected, when issues
come up, we don’t hold a public meeting and see how many people show up and
that’s how we vote. This is a representative group we have a responsibility to do
it. If you don’t like the way we do it, recall us. But, I’m sorry that we are not
going to resolve this issue, but I’m not going to see it resolved on a 4-3 vote. If
it is tabled, I’ll be damned if I’m going to talk about this again until after the next
election. And that is good news for some of you, but it’s not good news for me
and I’m damn mad now. I vote to table.

Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: Janice DeWitt

Trustee DeWitt: No

Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: Don Steinhauer

President Steinhauer: Remind me what we are doing.

Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: The motion is to table.

President Steinhauer: I apologize, I need to give this a little thought. I’m not
sure I agree with Steve Haroldson that it doesn’t come up until after the next
election, but I do agree with his philosophy. So my vote is to table.

Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: Mary Anderson

Mary Anderson: To table

Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: Dave Becker

Trustee Becker: Yes

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Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: Steve Grindle

Trustee Grindle: Table it

Deputy Clerk/Treasurer: Randy Littel

Trustee Littel: Yes

The vote was 6 for, 1 against

Adjournment: There being no further business before the meeting, Becker


moved, Haroldson seconded to adjourn at 9:47 p.m.

Minutes by Sarah Danz, Deputy Clerk/Treasurer

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