Friday, May 26, 2006

Fishing pier issue continues to haunt council

One by one, opponents of the fishing pier proposed for Miller’s Bay in Menominee Park marched up to the podium at Tuesday night’s city council meeting to ask the council to consider rescinding the approval it granted for the pier last summer.

Since its approval, neighbors and other opponents have given testimony in a hearing held by the state Department of Natural Resources, which ultimately gave the pier its stamp of approval by approving a permit for its construction in late 2005. The group then asked for a contested hearing in front of an administrative law judge. Such a hearing has yet to be scheduled, but the DNR has told pier opponents it would be preferable for the matter to be worked out locally.

The group has tried in the past to work with the Otter Street Fishing Club, but club members are steadfast in their decision to place the pier in Miller’s Bay at the end of New York Avenue – nowhere else. Judging by the arrogance and rudeness continually displayed over this issue by club spokesman Terry Wohler (who also happens to serve on the city’s advisory parks board), there is no room for discussion. Therefore, pier opponents want the city council to rescind its decision.

Councilman Paul Esslinger was not at last summer’s council meeting when approval was granted, but Tuesday night he told Chuck Williams, a local attorney, park neighbor and pier opponent, that he would not be able to support rescinding the council decision because there has been nothing illegal done by the parks board, the city council, the fishing club or any other entity. City attorney Warren Kraft has also told the council that the Otter Street Fishing Club may have a cause of action against the city if such a rescinding would occur.

It’s interesting how Esslinger has tried to make the case that because no one has done anything illegal, he can’t justify rescinding the council decision. Yet he does not seem to have similar concerns about the council granting approval to place an angel statue in Menominee Park which, if it happens, has all but guaranteed a lawsuit against the city by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He also doesn’t have a problem pulling the plug on the Five Rivers resort project, though the council has been cautioned such a move could also result in the city being sued.

In addition to his other comments, Esslinger said he believes the club has spent a lot of time and money on this already. Does he not think there has been considerable time and a certain amount of money spent by the opponents? What about the time and professional expertise essentially “donated” by some of the experts involved in fighting the pier? Maybe Esslinger just doesn’t want to ruffle the feathers of the fishing club because they carry a lot of clout and represent many votes to an elected official. Who knows? And in the long run, who really cares why Esslinger does what he does?

But his contradictory position and the threat of possible litigation aside, I believe the city council moved too hastily in approving the pier last summer and owes it to the citizens and neighbors, especially in light of a recent report done by Dr. Michael Burayidi from UW-Oshkosh, to rescind its decision and find an alternate site for the fishing pier. (you can find a copy of that report by going here.)

While the Otter Street Fishing Club has done wonderful things for the Oshkosh community over the years, I think a court would be hard-pressed to find in favor of the club in the event of its members filing suit for its expenses.

First, it’s hard to imagine what expenses the club has already incurred for a pier that is not yet constructed, though Wohler mentioned a $10,000 figure at Tuesday’s council meeting. Without seeing receipts it’s hard to say what, if anything, has been spent so far. But whether they’ve spent $10 or $10,000, the club knew DNR approval would be necessary before construction could begin and we’ve been hearing about money the club spent even before that approval was granted.

Second, the Otter Street Fishing Club also knew that pier opponents would exercise their right to appeal, and they knew the possibility of the council being asked to rescind its decision was very real. Therefore, common sense suggests they should not have purchased any materials until all appeals or other measures of redress were exhausted. If the club has expended funds, I believe it did so prematurely and the club should not prevail in the event of its filing a claim.

Moreover, the club said it wanted to “donate” a fishing pier to the city. Gifts should not come with strings attached and the club should be willing to make its donation no matter where the city council would determine is best for the pier's placement instead of adopting an attitude of “We will donate the pier, but we get to decide where it goes, too. And if it goes somewhere other than where we want it you’ll have to reimburse us for our costs.” That’s not a gift; that’s holding the city hostage for something unless you get your way. It’s ridiculous and the city should not have accepted a “gift” on those terms.

Either way, I believe the city council needs to take a stand and rescind its earlier decision. There are far too many reasons why it should; and to leave the earlier decision stand just because nothing illegal may have been done is ridiculous and only serves to add insult to injury. This process has been handled poorly from the beginning when a proper meeting notice was not given and the issue rushed through the layers of city government. Rescinding its earlier approval is the one way the council has to right these wrongs.

Cheryl Hentz

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Doyle launches Most Wanted Sex Offenders web site

As part of Governor Doyle's ongoing efforts to tighten the net around sex offenders in Wisconsin, Doyle has launched Wisconsin’s Most Wanted Sex Offenders, a list of the state's most dangerous and elusive sex offenders who are evading the state's sex offender registry laws. Information about each offender is available on the site.

"Keeping our kids safe is a never-ending job," Governor Doyle said. "Wisconsin is one of the nation's leaders in tracking down and monitoring sex offenders. Now I'm asking the public to help us track down the most dangerous sex offenders in our state. 'Wisconsin's Most Wanted' will allow parents, grandparents, teachers and neighbors to play an integral role in keeping our communities safe and making it impossible for sex offenders to move undetected through our neighborhoods."

The public can access the most up-to-date information about each offender on the “Wisconsin’s Most Wanted” web site, including the offender’s name, a photograph, the date the warrant was issued for their arrest, and critical information about whom to contact if the offender is spotted. The site also includes a direct link to each offender's profile on Wisconsin's sex offender registry. The public can also print photos of all the offenders to further publicize the list.

"Wisconsin's" Most Wanted" was launched as part of the Governor's Sex Offender Apprehension and Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Initiative to track and hold accountable sex offenders who evade the state's registry laws. Developed by Governor Doyle's SAFE Task Force, a group of 15 top law enforcement leaders from across the state, the offenders on the list were selected based on a comprehensive set of criteria including seriousness of offense, overall criminal history, history of complying with registration rules, and other factors.

These offenders were convicted in counties all over the state - from Milwaukee to Outagamie to Marinette. Many have pending charges and all have outstanding warrants for their arrest.

Citizens with any information on the whereabouts of any of the offenders are encouraged to contact local law enforcement department or the "SAFE Tip" hotline toll free at 1-877-234-0085 or via email. Calls will be answered by DOC staff Monday through Friday between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Citizens with any immediate concern for their safety or the safety of a child are asked to call 911.

Governor Doyle also announced today that 610 noncompliant sex offenders have been tracked down by the SAFE Teams, which are comprised of retired law enforcement professionals and sex offender registry specialists from the Department of Corrections (DOC). The SAFE Teams work closely with law enforcement agencies around the state to arrest and hold accountable those sex offenders who try to become anonymous in our communities.

Coordination among law enforcement agencies has forced more sex offenders into compliance with state law, raising the rate of compliance to 89 percent from 82 percent one year ago, when Governor Doyle first ordered a crackdown on sex offenders who have not complied with the sex offender registry. The average compliance rate nationally is 76 percent.

Earlier this month, DOC Secretary Matthew Frank convened the first-ever Midwest SAFE Summit with four neighboring states to share ideas and best practices on effective sex offender tracking and registry management. The five states agreed to enhance information-sharing about sex offenders who move beyond state borders. The states agreed to meet annually, with Illinois to host the next regional summit in spring 2007.

Due to the achievements of the SAFE Initiative, Wisconsin was one of only two states in the country to earn a grade of "A" in a report issued earlier this month by the national children's advocacy group Parents for Megan's Law.

Learn more about Governor Doyle's SAFE Initiative by going here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tuesday's Council Meeting

Contributed by: alibi2day

We watched & listened to the presentation given by Dr. Michael Burayidi regarding the pier location for Millers Bay. We are not urban planners; what we found to be interesting that as a UWO Professor some of the same reasons he presented for NOT putting the fishing pier at the chosen location were the reasons the neighborhood presented to UWO officials, city planners, and City Councilors when decisions were being made to expand the use of the Oshkosh Sports Complex.

Safety issues /additional use of residential streets.
Insufficient Parking Light Pollution
Violation of noise and nuisance ordinances
Depletion of property values

Our neighbors presented these reasons numerous times over the years and none of the reasons were valid enough because of FREE $$$$$. The UWO has made promises to the neighborhood but has even 1 City official actually followed through to make sure these promises are being kept?

With the presentation from Dr. Burayidi it appears the city may take a second look at the pier issues. If that turns out to be the case than let’s take another look at the negative and dangerous impact on the neighborhood around TITAN Stadium. If it’s fair for one part of the city it should be fair for all parts of the City.

Maybe we can implement some of the Doctor’s skills to present another neighborhood impact study. We can’t pay you for your study Dr. but I am sure the taxpayers wouldn’t mind another donation of your time.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

State launches web site to help communities identify grant opportunities

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) today launched the WiGrants Catalog, a centralized, online listing of competitive, application-based grants available to local and tribal governments.

"DOA's role is to provide cost-effective solutions to our partners in state, local and tribal government so they can serve their employees and citizens," said Laura Arbuckle, administrator of the Division of Intergovernmental Relations. "The WiGrants Catalog is a continuation of this work that will greatly improve local governments' ability to locate grant opportunities so they can continue to improve their local communities and control property taxes."

The new catalog is one of several initiatives led by DOA to strengthen the working relationship between state, local and tribal governments. Other examples of this work include the WiPartnerships Web page,which provides cost-saving resources and programs for local governments, the ACE Initiative, which offers local and tribal governments the opportunity to use the state's purchasing power to lower the prices of the goods they buy, energy conservation assistance, low-cost technology services and equipment, land use planning, municipal boundary issues, and coastal management.

The WiGrants Catalog currently contains aid listings from the following state agencies and offices:
  • Department of Administration
  • Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Public Instruction
  • Department of Health & Family Services
  • Department of Military Affairs
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority
  • Department of Workforce Development
  • Public Defender Board
  • Public Service Commission
  • State Historical Society

The WiGrants Catalog is the successor to the Wisconsin Catalog of Community Assistance.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gordon Hintz Kicks Off 2006 Assembly Campaign

OSHKOSH- Gordon Hintz formally announced his candidacy for Wisconsin’s 54th State Assembly District in front of a packed house at Fratello’s Restaurant in Oshkosh Monday evening. Hintz and supporters were joined by city and county officials and state representatives from Northeastern Wisconsin to celebrate the formal commencement of Hintz’s campaign.

Hintz, who has been knocking on doors in Oshkosh and talking with community residents for months about their concerns on city, state, and national issues, emphasized that residents’ real issues are not the issues currently being debated in Madison.

“Officials in Madison are practicing politics of division and distracting voters with disruptive tactics and gimmick legislation,” Hintz said. “Wisconsin needs real leaders who will listen to residents and fight for affordable health care, keeping jobs in our state, and fiscal responsibility instead of changing the debate to hot button issues that distract voters from the issues that really count.”

Hintz stressed the need for Oshkosh to have a representative in the Assembly who will work with the city, the county, the school district, and the university. “Instead of passing on lose-lose decisions to local officials, state and local government need to work together to address rising health care, energy, and fuel costs and confront the terrible pressures that have been put on local government and property taxpayers.”

Hintz, who was narrowly defeated in 2004 by 17-year incumbent Rep. Gregg Underheim in a four-way race, cited the recent defeat of a campaign finance and ethics reform bill by Assembly Republicans as an example of the legislature’s failure to listen to Wisconsin residents. “When I listen to citizens in Oshkosh, they feel left out. They increasingly cynical about our political process and want to change the pay-to-play election tactics in this state. But politicians bent on keeping Madison in the hands of moneyed special interests refused to act on the desires of those who vote for them.”

County Executive Mark Harris told the crowd of about 120 enthusiastic supporters that Hintz is the kind of dynamic young leader that will take Oshkosh and Winnebago County in the right direction. “Gordon is a leader with a vision of more progress and less politics in Madison. He understands that certain needs are not being met by our current government and will be a strong advocate for Oshkosh.”

Oshkosh City councilor Bryan Bain and State Representatives Tom Nelson and Terry Van Akkeren also addressed the crowd in support of Hintz. Nelson, who is finishing his first term as Kaukauna’s assemblyman, said he is looking forward to working together with Hintz in Madison to fight for the residents of the Fox Valley.

Oshkosh among 50 smartest places to live

Congratulations to the City of Oshkosh (and surrounding area) for being among the 50 Smart Places to live, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, June 2006 issue (now online).

This kind of recognition certainly can't hurt in trying to sell our community to the rest of the world – commercially, industrially and personally.

- Cheryl

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Docks' future "floating" in the balance

This morning’s Oshkosh Northwestern contained an updated article on the discussions being held between the City of Oshkosh and the state Department of Natural Resources over the proposed floating docks near the Leach Amphitheater in Riverside Park.
In response to the city’s application for the installation of floating docks in this area, the DNR has expressed concerns about the increased boat traffic stirring up contamination lying on the bed of the Fox River. As a result of its concerns, the permit for floating docks may eventually be denied, though at this time no final decision has been made and discussions between the city and state are ongoing.

But this morning’s piece by Alex Hummel raises an interesting point and it mirrors one that I have been discussing with folks recently, too.

If the idea of floating docks concerns the DNR, how are they going to feel about future applications for more docks or piers, much like those envisioned at the proposed Five Rivers Resort? The river bed would actually have to be driven into for some of the city’s planned piers and the contamination issues would seem to be the same, if not greater, in cases like that than those the DNR is dealing with in the floating docks scenario.

I understand that at present time there are no other applications with the DNR pending, but it seems to me the time to find out if piers for boat slips and/or a marina at Five Rivers would be approved by the state would be before this resort gets approved and ground is broken. If you have a facility like the one being proposed, but can’t construct a marina – which has been used as a selling point – I think such a denial would affect the marketability and/or viability of the project, would it not? This is yet another question, among the dozens of others, that need to be asked and answered BEFORE the Five Rivers project gets approved.
- Cheryl

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Docks' future "floating" in the balance
Authored by: popo on Tuesday, May 16 2006 @ 07:34 PM MDT
Maybe the city should help out Mr.Doig some more and move the docks to that site. Whats some more taxpayers money. Heck, even the state is even kicking in some money for it.

Docks' future
Authored by: mjs on Wednesday, May 17 2006 @ 07:07 AM MDT
It appears Decade Properties may have given up on the Pioneer Inn. The sale of the Pioneer Princess to Fond du Lac coupled with the closure of the resturant/lounge/tikibar part of the Pioneer for the entire 2006 season seems to be the writing on the wall.Did this occur with the thought that 5 Rivers will build and consume the entire condo/hotel market in Oshkosh?Whats to be done with this important gateway island to Oshkosh? Will it return to it's former "Bums Island" glory?

Docks' future
Authored by: NewVoice on Wednesday, May 17 2006 @ 02:24 PM MDT
Apparently there is a certain element in Oshkosh who gets what they want no matter what is right, good for the community, or affordable. I guess we better get used to 5 Rivers being here whether we like it or not.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of '06

Thanks to Oshkosh Common Council members Bryan Bain, Bill Castle, Shirley Mattox, Meredith Scheuermann and Burk Tower for amending the solid waste fee so that we are only charged the $10 per month for the last quarter of 2006, instead of the final quarter of this year and all of 2007. It would have been very easy to just approve it all the way across the board, but they didn't. Council members Dennis McHugh and Paul Esslinger, on the other hand, did not support the amended ordinance. Both were of the opinion that the fee should be struck down altogether.

Mr. McHugh has certainly been consistent in this regard and his vote shouldn’t have shocked anyone. Paul Esslinger, on the other hand, continues to be a mass of contradiction and while I’m hardly surprised by anything he says or does these days, I am amazed at how easily he utters words in such complete contradiction to what he has repeatedly said for months.

Indeed, since late last year we have heard Esslinger say that a garbage fee, while the “worst of two evils” was still “better than what we have” and that it was more fair to people and businesses alike. Yet tonight, as I said in the opening paragraph, he completely voted against the fee in its entirety, even as amended. While some might say “Good for him; he’s really watching out for us,” I find myself wondering who he’s more closely watching out for.

City manager Dick Wollangk said tonight that to not implement a fee in the last quarter would mean several positions being cut – possibly as high as 25 – because the 2006 budget we’re already five months into was approved with fee collections figured into it. He said the only way to avoid personnel cuts would be to dip into the city’s fund equity for the $600,000+ needed to eliminate the garbage fee this year. That, he said, had the potential to cause ripple effects with our bonding and we might not be able to get the same favorable bond rate we currently have. That argument makes sense, except for the fact that when it came time for building the “bid-waived” bathrooms at the Leach Amphitheater, the then-city council had no problem dipping into our general fund for the approximately $600,000 needed for that project. So let’s see: we weren’t concerned about our bond rating being affected for bathrooms, but we are worried about it being affected by our using some money for the operating budget because of a state-imposed levy freeze. Interesting “logic.”

Naturally I would have prefered no fee at all, but I believe that to remove it from this year's budget would have had major effects on city operations in the immediate future, short of using money from fund equity.

Since it was apparent the council was not going to pull money from that resource, the choices then became more clear-cut: either do away with the fee altogether and force layoffs; or keep the fee for only three months and look for ways to balance the budget in 2007 without fees. A majority of the council favored keeping the fee in place for Oct-Dec. of this year and seeing if we couldn’t do away with it during next year. They say they are committed to doing that, and I applaud them for that stance. I hope they follow-through.

In articulating their reasons for the amendment and ordinance as amended, some of the councilors explained how they’d tried to put forth alternatives to the fee last November when the 2006 budget was being discussed and ultimately approved. Their basic feeling was that the time to have headed off a fee and additional budget problems was then; not when it came time to establish and approve a fee several months down the road.

Esslinger then took his familiar seat in the grandstand and accused his fellow councilors of covering their “collective backsides.” He also said that even though he supported the garbage fee back in the fall, the citizens hadn’t spoken out on it prior to that. He said he's heard from a lot of people since then and hardly anyone was in favor of the fee. His “bosses” have spoken, he said, and he was going to be responsive to them and vote down any fee.

While his pandering sounded good, there are two problems I see with Esslinger’s comments. First, Esslinger has a reputation of voting for what he believes to be right, even if it means going against the public grain. Case in point: the angel in the park controversy. It seems pretty clear most people think that is the wrong place for the statue, but Esslinger has stood his ground on that issue and supports it.

The second problem I see is that even though people had not spoken out against the fee at budget time they certainly have ever since then. I would dare say the garbage fee issue has been one of the most widely discussed topics among Oshkoshonians since last fall. Despite that, Mr. Esslinger continued to maintain that the fee was the right thing to do. He even challenged those running against him for city council in last month’s spring election to explain where they’d find the money to replace the garbage fee if it were repealed. Now suddenly he claims to be listening to “his bosses” and figures the city manager should come up with the money to replace the fees beginning immediately. Ain’t politics grand?

I guess for some politicians, campaign season never ends. Could another swing at mayor be in Mr. Esslinger’s future? Is that what tonight’s grandstanding and posturing was all about? Or is it just Esslinger being contrary again?

- Cheryl

A final note: During Citizen Statements resident and local businessman Carl Sosnoski announced that he will try getting a binding referendum on the November ballot to "end this nonsense." I don't know if that means he's going to try having the final quarter fee repealed (though it will likely be paid by most of us by the time of the November election) or if this is merely an attempt to stop anything in 2007 and/or beyond. Sosnoski can be reached by interested citizens at 235-1727.

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of ’06
Authored by: chzhead on Wednesday, May 10 2006 @ 05:44 AM MDT

You will look for anyway to make the conservatives like Esslinger, McHugh, Becker and the Montes look like crap won't you? You have now bashed on Esslinger for doing exactly what the taxpayers (constituents) want him to do. He set his personal feelings aside and voted against this fee and you bash on him.

Are YOU setting up for a run for Mayor? Or are you going to try at another council seat? Sure looks like it from the cheap seats.

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of '06
Authored by: admin on Wednesday, May 10 2006 @ 07:09 AM MDT

(A) Define "cheap seats" - an expression used far too often by you and those of your ilk. Please enlighten us as to what you mean in THIS case.

(B) Glad to see you have such "high" standards, though double ones, at that. You criticize me for being critical of folks, yet you and your pals take every opportunity to be critical of me. Hmm!

(C) I didn't cut on Dennis McHugh at all. His position has remained consistent on the fee issue.

(D) I don't have to LOOK for ways to make some people look bad. Their own actions do that from where many people stand.

(E) I didn't bash Esslinger for doing what the taxpayers wanted him to do. I didn't "bash" him at all. I was critical of the way in which it was done (by, going after his fellow councilors for their comments and efforts they tried five or six months ago, but which he voted against). I was also critical of him for trying to make himself look like the good guy who's listening to taxpayers when right up until last month's election he marched to the beat of his own drummer on the fee issue. I call that pandering and grandstanding. His own voting record shows that he does not ALWAYS do what the taxpayers want him to do. Don't forget, I'm one of Mr. Esslinger's bosses too, whether he - or you - like it or not.

Incidentally, let me assure you I don't take EVERY opportunity to make Mr. Esslinger look like "crap," as you claim. In fact, there is at least one thing that to this point I've held back from "reporting" to the general public, but which I've shared with a number of people privately. The consensus is that, if told, it would REALLY make Esslinger look like "crap" (i.e., small, petty, childish, foolish, ultra thin-skinned and like someone who exercises not real good judgment). But again, his own actions would paint the portrait for the public, not anyone informing the public of them.

Have a fine day!

- Cheryl

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of '06
Authored by: NewVoice on Sunday, May 14 2006 @ 09:11 AM MDT
You have always been quite a journalist. You have also complained when others knew information you thought the general public needed to know. Now you are withholding information about an elected official from the community. That seems a bit inconsistant with your previous stance. If you know something about Esslinger, as a journalist, you are ethically obligated to reveal. Maybe I overestimated you. Sorry.

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of '06
Authored by: admin on Sunday, May 14 2006 @ 08:19 PM MDT
New Voice, those other things you refer to have to do with people's own job performance and/or their positions on issues surrounding their respective bids for office. This does not. Let me assure you, neither I, nor the others I've shared this with - including other journalists - believe there is an ethical obligation to "report" this information. I think it goes more to character and character traits than anything else. That is one of the reasons the word "reporting" was in quotation marks. Have a nice evening.

- Cheryl

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of '06
Authored by: Thedog on Wednesday, May 10 2006 @ 05:30 PM MDT
Did Mr. Esslinger really think there were citizens for the tax, I mean fee, last year when they approved the budget and he was for the fee? This guy becomes more of a joke every meeting.

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of '06
Authored by: admin on Saturday, May 13 2006 @ 04:37 PM MDT
Big Dog,

To read some of the ridiculous comments from people on the blogs, you would certainly think so. Either they've been bamboozled or they think we're dumb enough to be.

- Cheryl

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of ’06
Authored by: admin on Wednesday, May 10 2006 @ 08:59 AM MDT
There appears to be a glitch with the posting of some comments on this thread. They are being counted in the reply meter but not showing up on the screen. In order to see them (or reply to them), you may have to do so in a "flat" format. We are sorry for the inconvenience and are working to resolve the problem. If it cannot be resolved, the missing posts (one from Cheryl and one from chzhead) will be deleted and reposted by site administration.

Garbage fee passes, but only for final quarter of '06
Authored by: admin on Wednesday, May 10 2006 @ 09:09 AM MDT
[The following two comments were posted earlier this morning, but due to technical difficulties were not able to be viewed in a regular format. After several efforts to resolve the problem, the posts were deleted and are being reposted here. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. - Site Administration]

Authored by: chzhead on Wednesday, May 10 2006 @ 06:18 AM MDT
The 'cheap seats' I refer to is to make comments from the sidelines under the anonymous moniker. I was referring to myself in this case.

Next, I was making a blanket statement about the candidates you have bashed on lately.

You sure found a way to spin things in a negative light when Esslinger is concerned and on Tony's site you even congratulated the other council members on voting yes. Did you think about all the people that will lose service for those months? They will not be able to simply resume city collection if the fee goes away and then they will be paying for a service that they no longer receive. That is good representation of our council? They should have looked for alternatives.

Authored by: admin on Wednesday, May 10 2006 @ 08:23 AM MDT
Chzhead, thanks for explaining your "cheap seats" comment and that you were referring to yourself.

Again, I do not see myself as "bashing" on anyone. I will be critical where I believe it is warranted and I will likewise give praise where I believe it is warranted. I have ALWAYS done that and do not intend to change. It is interesting how you will jump all over me for my opinions when, quite frankly if you read the comments in the paper and on the Internet, or you listen to what people are actually saying on the street, you'll find that there are many who feel as I do about plenty of issues. Yet you and those like you consistently choose to single me out instead of speaking about people in general. That makes it look like YOU are the one with the axe to grind. Very hypocritical, but exactly what I've come to expect.

Again, you claim I have spun things in a negative light. Simply not true. I pointed out the obvious and if you don't think so, ask around. Yes, I certainly did give the five councilors kudos for their not putting a fee on the books in 2007. I believe that was the right thing to do, especially since approving such a fee would have been the easy thing to do. But if you read what I wrote here, I did take issue with the fact that the council would not use fund equity for getting rid of the fee even this year, but some of these same councilors had no problem using the fund for bathrooms at the Leach. Perhaps you missed that point.

You speak about the people who will lose service for those three months. I will paraphrase something Mr. Esslinger said months ago: nothing's perfect. He himself thought the fee system was more fair than the way it's currently being done. I will also point out that businesses, while perhaps not receiving a service that they're paying for (under the current system), still have been able to deduct trash removal services on their taxes as a business expense. I will also point out that more and more communities are moving away from collecting trash from commercial entities. While that may not be right or fair, it has been becoming the "way of the world" for awhile now. But again, if they're paying for it on their property taxes they're still getting the tax break on their tax returns.

- Cheryl

Hurry up and wait

The Oshkosh Common Council continues to defy logic in its decision-making process.

The council had an opportunity this evening to approve a $1 surcharge on ticket sales for the Leach Amphitheater, the money then being set aside to go toward future upkeep and maintenance. Despite it being supported by the Leach family - the very donors of the amphitheater structure - the proposed ordinance failed 2-4, with council members Paul Esslinger and Meredith Scheuermann being the only ones, in my opinion, to exercise sound judgment on this issue and vote in favor of the charge.

Before the vote we heard silly comments from John Casper from the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce that the Waterfest organization couldn't handle the $1 surcharge because they already had tickets and other promotional material printed. Mayor Bill Castle even admitted in a recent article in the Northwestern that the Waterfest people had gotten to him with their arguments. Too bad for the Waterfest organization, but this surcharge had been discussed since earlier this year and the Waterfest people should have taken that into consideration when setting ticket prices and printing literature.

We also heard comments from Bryan Bain, Burk Tower, Shirley Mattox and Bill Castle that we need to study the issue more; we need to decide where the money is going to go and how it is going to administered and by whom; so on and so forth. Why did they not look at these things before now, especially since they'd started discussing it months ago? More poor planning with respect to this entire project.

Burk Tower even said how it would not be smart to set the fee at $1 now, then next year decide it should be $1.50 or so. Costs and expenses for certain things routinely go up, often on an annual basis, Burk. My tax bill for example, due in part to you. Also, prices were set one year for admission into the zoo in Menominee Park, yet in a later year they were raised. There have been other user fees instituted for certain things one year and discussion held the following year to consider raising those very fees. Price changes, especially those which occur on a yearly basis, are a fact of life.

As I listened to all the nonsense spewing forth from the majority of our city council, I thought the exact same thing councilman Paul Esslinger later vocalized from the council dais. That being that the council hastily pushed the project through last year and had no problem indebting the taxpayers to the tune of $3 million or so with little to no planning and having virtually no answers to a plethora of questions concerning management and operation.

It further had no problem rushing through the construction of the bathrooms and concession area by waiving the bid process on said construction - something the state attorney general's office later said was a violation of the law.

The council wasn't too concerned when making multimillion dollar decisions, nor those involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet suddenly with a $1 facility charge (surcharge) they have to have more information, a possible workshop and in-depth analysis. Absolutely incredible! Gives the appearance of more manipulation of the system by power-brokers, some who don't even live in the city. And it begs this question: Exactly whose interests is this city council really watching out for?

- Cheryl

[following are comments as posted to this story on an earlier version of Eye on Oshkosh]

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 11 2005 @ 12:46 PM MDT
This is like taking $60,000.00 and throwing it away. What is wrong with a $1.00 fee this year and then evaluate the process (since they didn't the past 6 months) and come out with a plan for the seasons to follow. Do we not need the revenue?

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 11 2005 @ 12:58 PM MDT
Yes we do need the revenue now. But didn't you hear John Casper (runs the Chamber of Commerce) whining about how this would hurt Waterfest?!What a joke; like $1.00 extra is going to hurt that event.I hate to say it, but don't look at this Council implementing a fee anytime soon, and the taxpayers once again will be stuck with the bill!What a deal: The taxpayer's foot the majority of the bill, lose out on the concession revenue, and will now have to pay for the maintenance. Thank you to all of you idiots that voted for these clowns!

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 11 2005 @ 03:00 PM MDT
This idiot is fine with those clowns and their decisions.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 11 2005 @ 04:34 PM MDT
If you're so fine with these people and their decisions, perhaps you'd like to pay for all of us who are not happy with them. They keep making ridiculosuly stupid decisions that just don't wash with their earlier decisions. Since they can't seem to rmember how they voted from one meeting to the next and remain consistent in their beliefs, we can only presume they suffer from short term memory loss. Someone call the psychiatrist right away. We need help up there.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 07:27 AM MDT
You people don't want the amphiteatre, no zoo, no downtown, get rid of the Grand. Streets alone do not make people want to come here to visit or live. With nothing in the city to attract people and business you will have no $$ for all your streets. But we will have Walmart, bars, and bowling alleys. Ahh, the Cobblestoners vision!

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 08:41 AM MDT
No one said we did not want those things. We want proper planning and a say in that planning, just like other cities. Are you that much of a block-head that you cannot hear the message. Open your ears for once, as well as your mind and you might hear what people are actually saying. But, ah yes, to be progressive you must stick to your own vision because only you can see what's best for us.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 08:56 AM MDT
The zoo was planned years ago, we are following the plan. The amphitheatre has a 3 phase plan, we are finishing phase one. The downtown was planned out years ago, remember the meetings at the convention center, and we are following the plan. The problem is you do not like these plans.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 11:17 AM MDT
Wrong again ole wise one. You obviously have not been around very long, and certainly are not in the know as to how any of these projects were to have proceeded. First the "zoo" project descsion was based now on lies and over extended and over zealous people. The Zoological society made promises to the taxpayers via the city council that they would not EVER charge a fee for the zoo, and that the exhibits would be paid for by them solely through their fund raising efforts. This is not now the case, and yet the taxpayers are not being asked if this "plan" is still acceptable with them, as well as the huge bills!Second, there is a use of the word plan associated with this entertainment venue and it is insulting. There is most assuredly 3 phses, that is because of the way the Capital improvement budget as well as the city budget is designed to work and flow. It has, nor had anything to do with plan for the program it self, but rather how they could extract the most tax dollars with the lest amount of notice and noise. Thus you take varying amount through out the budgeting cycles then most people lose track of how much this THING has cost the taxpayers!. Even the Northwestern can't keep or even get the numbers straight. The original plan was to have complete taxpayer input on every phase of the downtown redevelopment. A couple of meetings at the convention center were a designer tells you what is going to be really doesn't meet the standard again in keeping a promise to the taxpayers.So if according to you, we don't like "the plans" maybe now you can see why. As for your remarks to Cobblestoners, if it weren't for those of us who have lived, paid taxes and raised our multi-generations of families here..people like you wouldn't have had a community to run to when you got sick of your Milwaukees and chicago's, that is after you tryed to make them too be all things to all people. So wise-up and read-up before you open up your large mouth and plant and even large foot in it!

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 11:49 AM MDT
I just love how negative you are. Nothing is ever right. We elected the current council to make decisions, not take an opinion poll on every issue before they vote. We voted out Poeschl because of his negativity and Esslinger will be next if he continues down the Melanie road.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 12:31 PM MDT
Speaking as a member of a family who has been here since the 1850s, I would appreciate if you didn't make all long time Oshkosh residents sound like provincial small-minded imbeciles. This is the mentality that really repulses people from coming to our city. Not all longtime residents are "cobblestoners" (a term I absolutely detest) and not all "cobblestoners" are longtime Oshkosh residents. So please, before you start claiming Oshkosh's legacy as the birthright of those who do not desire to see her reach her potential, think again. Plenty of us are proud of our heritage, appreciative of our roots and excited about the bright future this city has under the current leadership.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 02:14 PM MDT
My,My,My..aren't we just alittle full of ourselves.1850's really? Was that back when the powers to be made sure slave wages were paid to the workers at the lumber yards? When the powers to be made all the decisions for the entire community, because the lowly workers were too uneducated to really know or understand the fine print?Not much has changed in the mind set of your community since the 1850's. Still have the upper crust telling the worker bees how it's going to be!All I'm saying is, if I pay,I have a say. You don't have to like it, but it is the American way, and that my good old friend is the way it should stay!Speaking more to the heritage of this community, we have always questioned and demanded the best bang for our buck, your idea that this is somehow a parochial view of government or a fundamental process is laughable. Could it be that ones nose is too high in the air, so as to deprive one of the proper 02 flow to the brain?

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 02:23 PM MDT
Everyone has an opinion and should have their say. But there will be a losing side on every issue. One may have 10,000 citizens behind him and still not be in the majority. We seem to have the mentallity in Oshkosh that if we get 50 people to a meeting then the "people have spoken" and the board must vote in favor of the 50 people who spoke at the meeting. There are thousands who voted these people in who are perfectly comfortable with the direction the city is going. If they do not perform as advertised they will be voted out next election.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 10:35 AM MDT
Well idiot could you be kind enough to give us your name and addres so that I might be able to send my portion of this tax to YOU!It my by fine with you to be lead around by the nose and told how you are going to spend your hard earned dollars, God knows we are in need of more brain less sheep in this country. But IT IS NOT okay with me. As a taxpayer for a great many years in this community, I demand to have a say in this types of venture expenditures. I firmly believe that this is an issue for referdum!!So again idiot, give a real name and address and the pleasure can be all yours..I'll bet I'm not the only one who would love to send a wise -ss like you the bill!

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 11 2005 @ 03:03 PM MDT
Speaking of the idiots that voted for these clowns, didn't Jef Hall (Chairman of the Democratic Party) support Castle, Bain, and Mattox in the last election? Remember, these three voted against the ticket charge.Thanks Jef, now the taxpayers will have more money coming out of their pockets for the amphitheater. Good move; got any more stupid moves up your sleeve?

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 08:14 AM MDT
MY GOODNESS WHO CARES?The only reason Jef Hall has anything to do with these websites is because you people keep bringing him up just to provoke him! What on earth would you do that for? How does it add to the already pretty low brow discussion at the root of this issue (Who's to blame for Oshkosh being bad)? OK, OK I think by now we all understand that you think Jef Hall is stupid. Maybe you should make some bumperstickers. Or maybe buy a billboard. Perhaps you could rent an airplane to fly around the city with a banner to bring your message to the masses. But in reality, WHO CARES? He's not running for office, he's not in office, he's not making policy for an organization that has any effect on any of us (Being a Democrat, I can say that no Democrat has actually had an effect on anything political in a VERY long time, nor have I ever met Jef Hall), so quit trying to bring him in to these discussions just so you have someone you feel you can make character attacks towards. What legitimate point does it serve other than stroking your ego?

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 08:30 AM MDT
Remember, Jef Hall ran for office, and I'm sure he'll run again. I think everyone should have the fact that Jef Hall is an idiot fresh in their minds.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 08:35 AM MDT
No, they should have the fact that even if they don't agree with him, they should probably be able to disagree with him more intelligently than by calling him "stupid" or an "idiot". You and your low-brow posts are an embarrassment to the political process, not Jef Hall. At least Jef states ideas, facts and opinions (whether you personally agree with them or not, which in a lot of cases I don't) in a manner consistent with intelligent, rational, adult behavior instead of simply calling those who disagree with him names.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 08:46 AM MDT
I'm sorry mom; I'll watch my behavior in the future.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 10:02 AM MDT
Perhaps the problem is that you weren't listening when your mom started talking about treating people with respect and basic common courtesy, as well as acting like an adult.

Hurry up and wait
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 12 2005 @ 10:11 AM MDT
I always listened to my mom. I just didn't always agree with her, and I still don't always agree with her.But I always love and respect her. She's the best mother in the world!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Report on Miller's Bay fishing pier released

Tony Palmeri and I recently taped a show with UW-Oshkosh professor, Dr. Michael Burayidi, Ph.D., Professor and Coordinator, Urban and Regional Studies Program, to discuss TIFs and the Five Rivers Resort project. He explained off-camera that he had recently concluded a very in-depth report on the Miller’s Bay fishing pier location.

Dr. Burayidi was kind enough to forward a copy of that report to Tony and I. Tony was able to put a copy of the entire report on his site and you can find a copy of it by going here.


Friday, May 05, 2006

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated

Verbal confirmation of the expenses associated with April’s school board election recount has been provided to the Oshkosh Area School District and, according to an online story by the Oshkosh Northwestern, the costs are about triple what the district was anticipating or had budgeted for.

The recount was originally projected to cost between $6,000 and $8,000, but actual costs are said to be just over $19,000, mostly due to the expense associated with having legal counsel for the district present throughout the entire five-day recount.

I believe with such a close election the recount itself was justified, but I do not believe all the challenges or objections raised by Dan Becker were justified, or judicious on his part. Becker says the expense, though high, was worth it because it uncovered some "issues" within our current electoral system. What did it really uncover?

It uncovered no election or voter fraud nor any voter intimidation, but rather mistakes, pure and simple, which have and will continue to happen in every single election. While mistakes in the next election may well be different from the ones that happened in this one, mistakes will still occur. They cannot be avoided when you are dealing with human beings – especially ones who work long hours and are dealing with very tedious work.

The bottom line is I believe the costs were driven higher by persistent candidate objections despite the fact that it was very clear what the voter intent was in a large number of those cases. Unfortunately I think this recount uncovered more than just perceived “issues” with the system.

- Cheryl

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: chzhead on Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 06:20 AM MDT
By all means Cheryl, tell us how you feel. Nothing like reporting facts and not your personnal feelings towards the situation.The cost was to have a lawyer in the room ($14,000 of the $19,000).That is about 3/4 of the money going to a lawyer to sit in a chair and give poor advice. That was also by choice of the district, it was not required. So the cost would have been there regardless of the number of objections. Give us a break on your opinions please.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 08:43 AM MDT
Your post is unclear, much like some of your other ramblings. What I posted contained both fact and opinion - that is the point of blogs. Sorry you missed that lesson they day they taught it.

You say the district's attorney gave poor advice. That is your opinion. Unfortunately for you and your "side," that attorney's advice seems to have been largely supported by opinions from the State Elections Board. I suspect that's why the Board of Canvassers ruled as it did.

And the simple fact remains that if there had not been so many persistent objections this recount would not have taken as long as it did and the district would not have incurred the high bill it did (taxpayers are footing the bill, lest I remind you).

Finally, let me see if I have this right: You can offer your opinions, but not me because they're different from yours, huh? That's not the way things work. But here's a simple solution to you problem: If you don't like my opinions, don't read them. Nothing is forcing you to do so other than your obvious burning curiosity about what I'm saying and about whom.
Have a nice day.
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: tthiel on Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 10:59 AM MDT
Cheryl is exactly on point, the high cost was due to the number of objections which dramatically increased the amount of time the recount took. According to the article Mr. Becker says "issues" were uncovered... really like what... sometimes people sign their absentee envelop in pencil? So, there is no law against it. That sometimes absentee voters sign on the wrong line? Again, so, the voter intent is still clear. That sometimes a poll worker forgets to sign something? The recount isn't going to make humans error proof. This recount should have taken 2 days, recreate ballots that were too light or used pen and be done. Not an attempt to drum up all kinds of "reasons" to throw out votes.

Amazing how those screaming about wasteful spending feel the need to defend this total waste of taxpayer funds.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: chzhead on Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 12:44 PM MDT
Ok, I agree, it was a waste of money. BUT, if Tony had really been worth that $14000 figure, he would have known what was appropriate and what wasn't. It wasn't pointed out until the last day which objections were worth while and which ones weren't. And all were done by Beckers lawyer. Yes, ballots in pencil were allowed, and signed only by one person, and signed on the wrong line. He should have known that or he shouldn't have been in the room. He also should have known that absentee ballots without applications should not be allowed. None of these issues were brought to light until the last day. A lot of time could have been saved if he had actually knew more about election laws. He then would have been worth the money spent on him. When the city attorney doesn't have experience in a subject, an outside representative is hired to take his place. Why wasn't that done here? It sure could have saved money. Yes, the money spent is appalling. It is horrendous. But some of this could have been avoided and Becker is not the only one to blame here. I know Cheryl and Teresa have an axe to grind with Becker but the blame needs to be shared by the district too.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 01:43 PM MDT
Chzhead, before you go making comments about having axes to grind, please be sure of your facts. I have been a longtime supporter of Dan Becker's (I'm sure you already knew that, though). What I have a problem with is elected officials who have come to be known by their own actions as watchdogs of our tax dollars and those who say they want to make sure every vote is counted, then turning around and doing things which completely contradict the image they've built for themselves. It happens to be a feeling shared by many, so please don't make it look like there are only two of us who feel this way. Understand I have never had an axe to grind with Mr. Becker, only some of his actions during this recount. There is a difference.
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 05:59 PM MDT
On the Oshkosh News site, Michelle Monte has posted an editorial suggesting an emergency fund be set up or provisions made for things like this recount. Not a bad idea, but is there absolutely no money set aside for a recount – at least a normal one that would last about two or three days? I believe we were originally told the recount would cost between $6,000 and $8,000. Looks to me from the calculations below that they had the recount expense figured about right, were it not for the process being dragged on by so many objections, most of which came from Dan Becker.
Board of Canvassers/Recount workers: $3,656.32
Printing of extra ballots: $668
Dinner for six recount workers on April 13: $31.09
Legal: $14,383.50
City of Oshkosh (consulting, ballot transport, supplies): $591
TOTAL: $19,329.91
- source: Oshkosh Area School District

Mrs. Monte also stated in her editorial that the school district’s attorney made recommendations that were incorrect. It didn’t seem that Mr. Becker and/or his attorney always had all the right answers either, especially since the State Elections Board opined contrary to - and ultimately the Board of Canvassers voted against - some of Becker’s objections.

Finally, Mrs. Monte says “it seems the electoral process is a comedy of errors.” Pretty harsh words, I would say, and what a slap in the face to city clerk Pam Ubrig who, along with her staff, works so hard to get poll workers trained for elections. Mrs. Monte also said “to say that there are errors in every election and the public doesn’t know about them until there is a recount, so it is okay is irresponsible regardless of how true… Now that we know what has happened, we need to fix the problems and work on better procedures. Nothing is perfect, but we need to make the electoral process the best it can be so every vote does get counted and the people in our elected seats belong there.” I don’t think anyone ever said the mistakes were “okay.” I and a few others have simply said you are never going to eliminate all mistakes, no matter how good the training or how careful the individuals are. I have said before we should try to have as flawless an election as possible each time we go to the polls. But poll workers are people who are putting in very long days and doing extremely painstaking and meticulous work. Not signing a ballot, signing something on the wrong line or signing in pencil instead of pen does not mean the election process is flawed overall, nor does it make it a “comedy of errors.” It also does not mean that because mistakes – real or perceived - were made that those votes should be tossed out.

Thankfully in this recount, the votes still counted where voter intent could be determined and the three candidates with the most votes won. After all, isn’t that what we go to the polls for?
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: tthiel on Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 11:57 PM MDT
As someone who was in the room for the better part of two days, I can tell you that Mr. Renning DID know plenty about election law and when Mr. Becker objected to a ballot signed in pencil or signed on the wrong line or the witness didn't give an address Mr. Renning told the board of canvassars that the law did NOT require a ballot be signed in pen or that a witness give an address. Mr. Renning said repeatedly that the law ONLY requires there be a signature by the voter and the witness. HOWEVER, that did NOT stop Mr. Becker from objecting, he just kept at it and insisted each ballot be marked, many times he asked that his objection be read back to him ---it wasted a lot of time. Furthermore as to the issue of absentee ballots without applications--- according to the State Elections Board, those ballots could in fact have been counted but as you can see from the following excerpt from the minutes (see below)the Board of Canvassars decided to err on the side of caution and NOT count those absentee ballots but the Elections board opined that they could be counted if ... From Official Minutes on April 17:"Absentee Envelopes lacking applications: Mr. Becker’s position was that these votes should not be counted. The State Elections Board has opined that when the intent of the voter is clear, there is no evidence of any fraud and the defect is no fault of the elector, we should count the ballot. There is no way to tell which ballot applies to which absentee voter. Furthermore, the absentee envelopes and electors are on the poll lists. In light of Lee vs. Paulson, the Board of Canvassers has decided to error on the side of caution."The only blame for the excess costs are due to the more than 200! objections made by Mr. Becker. The district did budget $6,000 for election costs. I don't see how you can blame the district for this. Mr. Becker kept making objections no matter what he was told, which caused the recount to drag on and on which ran up the legal fees.

So much for the watchdog for the taxpayers.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: NewVoice on Sunday, May 07 2006 @ 04:56 PM MDT
Deja Vu. So much for intelligent discussion here. It is just a cut and paste of Oshblog. Oh, well.

The "watch dog for the district" did make some good points about moving forward towards the next election and fixing the mistakes that were found this time around. At least someone in this city can get past the blame game and talk common sense about the future since, as Mrs Monte pointed out, we can't change the past, it is time to move on.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Sunday, May 07 2006 @ 05:13 PM MDT
Actually, New Voice, I believe the discussion started here. But when multiple discussions on the same issue are going on in different places you are bound to get similar comments being made. Your message also seems hauntingly familiar, as is your support for Dan Becker and Michelle Monte. We get that. What a shame you seem to think they are the only ones exercising common sense. Quite the opposite. I happen to think common sense was shown by including votes instead of casting them aside as Mr. Becker wanted to do. Inasmuch as the State Elections Board said votes like many of those Mr. Becker objected to should be counted, I don't know that they can actually be considered "mistakes" that need fixing. You're not, for example, going to "correct" what voters do. Humans being what they are, those types of things are always going to happen.
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: NewVoice on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 07:22 AM MDT
I was referring to the mistakes with signatures as an example. That CAN be fixed or at the very list paid better attention to. Obviously you have your own personal biases, as is your right.It would seem according to this website that Amy had absolutely no objections, as they are never mentioned. She also objected, admittedly far fewer times, but nevertheless objected. Every one of her objections were, as you put it, in violation of State Elections Board information. I would have to point out that the SEB was not willing to step in on this is they consider it a local issue. Also, case law trumps whatever one of their representatives has to say. SEB can only tell you things according to the statute. Case law is what is followed in court because it is a legal interpretation of the statute.

Regardless, the point should be that we (ie the voters, pollworker, clerks, etc) need to do better in our own ways. I am sorry you feel differently. Apparently I had the wrong idea about this website. Good Day.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: tthiel on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 08:57 AM MDT
New Voice,
What mistakes with signatures are you referring to? There is no requirement that there be 2 poll worker's signature so therefore, no mistake. Amy's only objections were to keep the process consistent, she did not want any vote thrown out but when Mr. Becker started objecting to ballots with only one poll worker's signature and having them pulled BUT then decided against pulling a ballot with only one poll worker's signature but with a vote for him and NO vote for Mrs. Weinsheim she believed that to remain consistent in pulling ballots with only one signature she had to object to that ballot since Mr. Becker wouldn't. She did state on two different occassions that she would be happy to count ALL ballots with only one poll worker's signature so long as it was consistent and ALL those ballots were counted.I'm sure the majority of voters and other thinking people realize that having a recount so you can try and get hundreds of votes thrown out is not a good use of taxpayers' money.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: NewVoice on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 02:50 PM MDT
I'm going to guess that you don't consider those that supported Mr. Becker through the recount are "thinking people." You know what they say about opinions...

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 10:02 AM MDT
New Voice, I don't know why you think I have the opinion we can't do better. I've repeatedly stated that we should try to be as flawless as possible. But common sense should tell you that human beings are not flawless, therefore, neither will elections be.The other point I would make is actually a question about your comment that the State Elections Board opinions are trumped by case law. Why did Mr. Becker not sue the district then if he felt that SEB was wrong and Board of Canvassers erred by following the SEB's opinion?
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: NewVoice on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 02:57 PM MDT
SEB wasn't wrong, per say. They had the statute correct, however, interpretation is not up to them as they will tell you if you call, it is up to the judicial system. Case law stated that ballots with one signature are admissible and absentee ballots with no application are not, regardless of voter intent. If there is no application, how can there be a ballot?As for human error, you are correct, nothing is flawless. However, we should always strive as errored human beings to do better and not make excuses. Excuses and blaming do not change what already has happened. Perseverence prevents past errors from recurring and diligence minimizes future errors. That is my only point.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 05:17 PM MDT
Then I ask again why Mr. Becker did not proceed to the judicial level with his objections.
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: Target on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 07:31 PM MDT
You would like that wouldn't you... then you could drag him through the MUD some more. Get over it. You refuse to listen to any point of view that is not your own. You continue to spin (or should I say twist, distort, outright change) to suite your needs. Becker didn't have any votes thrown out. He objected to the BAG not being signed and when that was allowed, he renewed a consistancy objection everytime your golden girl objected for a signature. Time to READ the minutes. I wasn't there but I can read. Is there a point in our future that we will be done pissing on this issue. The recount was necessary. It cost money, and alot of it. The lawyer cost the most. I think that a paralegal could have done an equal job for much less. At least a paralegal would have made calls when presented with information instead of waiting until the day was over. I don't think that there would have been more than a 30% difference even without your insistance on 200+ objections. For those that are mathmatically challenged, that means it would still have been more than $13000.

Here is a thought, do you think that a lawyer could have been on call? Answered questions by phone? Came to the recount when needed? Was Beckers lawyer there throughout the whole thing or was he on call during the recount? MMMM, I wonder.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: tthiel on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 09:22 PM MDT
A paralegal cannot give legal advice, that is against the law.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: NewVoice on Tuesday, May 09 2006 @ 11:16 PM MDT
They can research and present to the lawyer case law. That is their job.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 10:22 PM MDT
Oh my dear Target, nothing has been spun, twisted, distorted or outright changed. If you believe so, please provide us some actual examples. You say you can read and that Mr. Becker didn't have any votes thrown out. I'm glad you can read, but apparently you don't do it nearly as carefully as you should or you would not have made the assertion you did. Fact is, I don't recall saying that Dan Becker had votes thrown out. That does not, however, change the fact that he tried, and that was after pursuing a recount to make sure every vote was counted, I thought. Quite a change in philosophies, I would say.

I have agreed all along that the recount was necessary. What was not necessary, in my opinion, were the incessant objections by Mr. Becker. Also, your reference to my "golden girl" - if directed at me - is very presumptuous on your part. As most know, I have been a longtime supporter of Mr. Becker's. If you would read, you would know that. But here again, I guess the fact that you CAN doesn't necessarily mean that you DO. As to your mathematical prowess, anyone can pull numbers out of a hat as you have done here with 30 percent, etc. You are making assumptions about how much time was eaten up with all those objections when you readily admit you weren't there. I don't know how this particular lawyer for the district billed, but most lawyers bill in 6-minute increments. That adds up quickly. I think Mrs. Thiel addressed your other comments about paralegals, etc.
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: NewVoice on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 08:15 PM MDT
I do not know. Don't take this the wrong way, but I thought of you as a journalist. Could you ask Mr. Becker directly? I hope my assumptions about you aren't wrong. I didn't see you as the type to just take gratuitous pot shots like others on the internet like to do under the guise of anonymous. Since you sign your name to your posts, I would think you would have higher standards of investigative journalism. Since I am not Mr. Becker, nor am I a public personality with a talkshow professing to "keep our eye on Oshkosh." If you really want to get to the bottom of things, I would recommend foregoing third party whining and go straight to the sources in question for answers. I'm not a journalist, so what do I know.

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Monday, May 08 2006 @ 10:28 PM MDT
Sorry New Voice, there are no gratuituous pot shots being taken, at least by me and I don't think by many - both here and in other places. This is called having a conversation. I don't get paid for this and am usually pretty busy making calls on things I DO get paid for. My apologies for not having the 28 hours in a day you must think I either have or should have. Also you would look smarter by leaving the "investigative journalist" cracks out of your remarks. You see, it was and continues to be anonymous people and those with made-up monikers like yourself who started referring me to as an investigative journalist. I never attached the word "investigative" to my profession. If people want to take potshots at my professional abilities they should at least be accurate about what I do. Otherwise their credibility is lost. You suggested I could call Mr. Becker directly. So could any citizen concerned about these issues. But I can, have and will continue to wonder "aloud" about things, like everyone else. Likewise, I know Mr. Becker logs in here and sees what's being discussed. He could just as easily answer the questions people are asking. In addition, I am sure you've heard of such a thing as a rhetorical question.
- Cheryl

School board election recount costs three times more than first estimated
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, May 09 2006 @ 07:48 AM MDT
In this morning's Oshkosh Northwestern, the editorial board opined that Dan Becker is now virtually unelectable because of the more than $19,000 it cost for the recent school board election recount.

In the piece, the newspaper’s editorialists pointed out some of the same things that people like me, my co-host Tony Palmeri and former school board member Teresa Thiel have been saying over the past several days: that the recount was like no other this community has seen before; that the recount costs were driven significantly higher by repeated objections by Dan Becker; and that this ridiculously expensive recount essentially “uncovered” nothing but that poll workers are human being and, as such, fallible.

I must agree with Tony, who is also discussing this editorial on his blog, that it is unlikely the cost of the recount will make Dan Becker unelectable, but rather the fact that he tried to have hundreds of votes thrown out during this recount. And yet, voters have a way of being forgiving (or is it that we “forget” about certain things?), especially after enough time has passed. You can be sure though, that if Dan runs again, some opponent will politely remind us that candidate Dan Becker tried to have many people's votes tossed in the election of 2006, and that, among them, might have been yours.
- Cheryl

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wisconsin Health Care Solutions

Contributed by: Kay Springstroh
The Oshkosh Area League of Women Voters in cooperation with The Earth Charter Oshkosh will be hosting a public forum on “Curing the Sick – Health Care Solutions for Wisconsin”. It will be held on Thursday, May 4, 7 – 8:30pm at the Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Rd. Y, Oshkosh.
Presentations will focus on three health care proposals currently before the State Legislature: Wisconsin Health Plan (2005 AB 114); Wisconsin Health Security Act (2005 WB388/AB807); and Wisconsin Health Care Partnership (2005 SB 698). In addition to these presentations, there will be community perspectives offered by local government and business leaders.

Evidence why a facility charge is needed at the Leach Amphitheater

There have been efforts in the past to institute a surcharge on tickets to performances at the Leach Amphitheater. They have failed. We lost a great deal of revenue last year during the amphitheater’s first season because such a fee was not in place. The second season of events at the Leach is quickly approaching and, still, there is no fee in place. The fee would be used to help cover future maintenance costs at the facility.

This morning’s Oshkosh Northwestern had a story about how a band shell in Green Lake has been left to languish over the years and now needs tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. Granted, their band shell has been there for more than 50 years and ours only since 2005, but the point needs to be made that we need a fee in place now. With community budgets getting tighter and tighter, future repairs (or improvements, for that matter) will be more difficult to accomplish without going to the taxpayers. And our budgets are getting tighter, too, in case City Hall hasn’t noticed. The reality is the people using the facility are the ones who should be paying for it and this fee needs to be put in place now.

Undoubtedly efforts to do so would be met by such organizers as those from the Waterfest concert series with arguments like, “Our materials for this year are already printed up and it would cost us too much to change them.” That was the argument we heard last year. Knowing that a fee could be coming, they could easily have avoided such a dilemma by printing on their materials that prices are subject to change or that prices do not include a surcharge for using the facility. Things change all the time and I seriously doubt someone will not come to the Leach because of an extra 50-cents or dollar attached to their ticket for a user fee, facility charge, or whatever you want to call it.

I recognize the city council will not institute something before this season, but at a minimum they need to pass something NOW for next year. Let’s not keep putting this off until we have a situation on our hands like Green Lake has. Let’s have a city council that is proactive for a change rather than being a “Johnny-come-lately.”

- Cheryl

Monday, May 01, 2006

Garbage Fee

Monday, May 01 2006 @ 11:33 AM MDT
Contributed by: Jim B.

Cheryl, I took part in the citizens academy, and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about how our city operates. It is true that Mr. Wollangk told us about the proposed garbage fee. He was in the middle of going through the new budget, and he presented it as if it was a foregone conclusion. Some in the class asked some very good questions about options, but they were all shot down by Mr. Wollangk (almost before he heard them).

I have a couple of observations about this fee and the seemingly rhetoric coming from our city Manager. I live on a street that has a perpinducular street running into it on the East side. I watch the garbage men every garbage day come down my street, get to the end, then back up to the perpindicular street. They have obviously been doing this for years because the guy who picks up the actual cans takes off running toward the street before the driver even starts backing up. If they can back up like this, why can't they do it in condo complexes? Another issue I have is the garbage men themselves are in such a hurry, that they neglect to notice or pick up garbage they have dropped on the streets. Almost every garbage day my street is littered with garbage from their doing. This drives me crazy, and I have called the sanitiation department several times to lodge a complaint. What is their hurry? I have seen it mentioned on other threads, but do they get off early if they get done early? That just doesn't seem right if they are continually creating a mess!

Jim B.

[following are responses to the above post as they originally appeared on an earlier version of Eye on Oshkosh]

Garbage Fee
Authored by: mjs on Tuesday, May 02 2006 @ 10:53 AM MDT
Yes Jim you are correct. They rush through their routes and then are able to leave for the day...often after much less than a standard 8 hour shift. I have heard some of the reasons for this, but in my opinion they don't hold water. All workers (city and private sector) should be held accountable. If they finish their route early, I have to believe there is something else that could be done with their skilled costly labor.Mr. Wollangk need to start supporting the citizens of Oshkosh. Too many of the administrators and department managers seem to be intimidated by the unions. Maybe that is because if the Union ranks get large raises in wage and benefits, it only goes that the department managers and administrators will also receive premimum increases.The waste, odd working schedules, duplication of services, un-accountability need to be addressed. Our elected council members need to push for this.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: DBCooper on Tuesday, May 02 2006 @ 09:12 PM MDT
Several of us have commented earlier on the incentive system used by the sanitation department.MJS, the routes are designed for 8 hours of work at a 100% pace. There are industry recognized standards for this. The people are working at a pace of 125% if they get finished in 6 hours instead of 8, and they are being paid for 8 hours. What you are asking for is 10 hours of work in 8 hours, for 8 hours pay. It will never happen! They will make the 8 hours of work last 8 hours. It's been happening since incentive systems were invented, regardless of the industry.Clearly, if employees are leaving a mess behind, this is wrong and should not be tolerated.I'm more or less in favor of the incentive system, PROVIDED the entire job gets done! My problem with the incentive system is the safety of the people. Getting done faster is one thing, but at the pace these people are working it's only a matter of time before somebody steps into traffic without looking or thinking, somebody has the truck in gear and steps on the throttle when somebody else is in the way, somebody backs up when somebody else isn't clear, etc. The steps the workers ride on are not supposed to be used above 10mph or for more than .2 miles at any one time. How many times do we see that abused? They can be KILLED for not following these rules! Picking up garbage bags while riding on the step and heaving it into the hopper is an invitation to an arm or shoulder muscle or joint injury.There is a complete treatise on garbage truck safety here including accident reports:
What it comes down to is the city has implemented this incentive plan. Fine. But, abuses of all kinds are occuring with it, and instead of having managers managing the people and the problems, they appear to just let them run rampant. Remember that when accidents occur to refuse workers, no matter how minor the injury, WE pay for them!Back to Jim B's problem of leftover garbage. The city unveiled it's new website last week. It would be nice to see web based message boards for each department, where you could lodge a "complaint" like yours. (As far as that goes, it could be for suggestions also, not just complaints). More importantly, it would be nice to see somebody from the city answer it in a timely fashion. Even a "Dear JimB, we looked into your concern and it appears that the wind blew this trash around, so there is nothing we can do" is better than no answer at all, right?

To the subject of backing down alleys now. The US government instituted the CDL (commercial drivers license) in 1996. Without getting into all of the details of it, anybody who drives a class 8 refuse truck in the city of Oshkosh (and they are all class 8's) needs to have a Class A CDL, with no "endorsements". See pages 98-100 of this pdf file:
These pages detail the Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test. Wisconsin examiners use the "straight line" and "curved path" (alley dock) backing maneuvers during the test. In order to be be issued a Class A CDL in Wisconsin, you need to be able to back up a large truck! The decision to not pick up in alleys because it was "unsafe" is just another example of poor management on the part of the city. The many known unsafe conditions that I outlined above, they turn a blind eye to. A skill required during the driving test that their employees take, that hundreds of thousands of truck drivers do every day, THAT they deem to be unsafe...

Garbage Fee
Authored by: oshwi324 on Wednesday, May 03 2006 @ 06:56 AM MDT
NO! to the message boards. They would turn into nothing more than blogs of people dropping insults, much like blogs online have a tendency to become.If you have a complaint against a city employee or department, pick up the phone! Call the department head and advise him/her of your concern! If that doesn't suit your fancy, send an e-mail! All of the department heads' e-mails should be listed, and you can drop them a line that way.We do not need a public flogging forum to air our dirty laundry when it comes to problems we have with city departments. There are appropriate means to voice concerns, DB, but your suggestion is not the correct one, in my opinion.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: mjs on Wednesday, May 03 2006 @ 08:59 AM MDT

"......Authored by: oshwi324 on Wednesday, May 03 2006 @ 06:56 AM MDT "NO! to the message boards. We do not need a public flogging forum to air our dirty laundry when it comes to problems we have with city departments...."

I think it is a good thing to be open. If there is any "Dirty Laundry" let it receive the light of day. That and a little bleach and it might be cleaned up!:)

Garbage Fee
Authored by: DBCooper on Wednesday, May 03 2006 @ 11:23 AM MDT
Oh, but we DO need a public forum for lodging complaints!The originator of this thread has stated that he HAS contacted the responsible department and gotten nowhere. That is because the city can just sweep it under the rug, act like they lost it, whatever, instead of providing real customer service to us the customers!

Garbage Fee
Authored by: Jim B. on Wednesday, May 03 2006 @ 11:48 AM MDT
DB,My complaints and feedback have always been handled with good manners and a positive attitude by the people I have talked to at the sanitation department. However, I have never had any follow up to my questions and complaints(not that I was expecting any) on this particular issue. I have had in the past follow up from the department head when I complained about city a truck driver(non garbage) throwing out his garbage on my street. The head of the department called me back twice to verify information and was adamant that the person in question was dealt with accordingly. I am still amazed that a city worker would think it is appropriate to throw his garbage out of his truck on a city street! My personal feeling about listening to Mr. Wollangk many times during the city academy was he had the, "you don't know because you are just a citizen" attitude. He is a very nice guy with a good sense of humor, and I think knows how to do his job, but it always seemed like, "just let the professional handle this" attitude. We couldnt possibly understand the complexities of these matters being just citizens!
Jim B.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: Thedog on Thursday, May 04 2006 @ 04:37 PM MDT
Jim B. I agree with 100% in reguards to out city managers attitude.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: mjs on Wednesday, May 03 2006 @ 09:04 AM MDT
......MJS, the routes are designed for 8 hours of work at a 100% pace. There are industry recognized standards for this. The people are working at a pace of 125% if they get finished in 6 hours instead of 8, and they are being paid for 8 hours. What you are asking for is 10 hours of work in 8 hours, for 8 hours pay. It will never happen! They will make the 8 hours of work last 8 hours. It's been happening since incentive systems were invented, regardless of the industry. Interesting. Please share more information regarding this INDUSTRY STANDARD. And how the incentive system came about, what the standards are for a community like Oshkosh,are any other cities in our area using the same incentive system, who monitors the success, etc etc. Sounds like one heck of a benefit for the workers...whats the benefit to the city and taxpayers??

Garbage Fee
Authored by: oshwi324 on Wednesday, May 03 2006 @ 09:58 PM MDT
The benefit is that your garbage gets picked up every week. WHO CARES if they can do it in 6 hours or 8? As long as it gets picked up, WHO CARES? If you want it to take 8 hours, they will make it take 8 hours. Are we trying to invent things to complain about here, or do you have a legitimate gripe?

Garbage Fee
Authored by: mjs on Thursday, May 04 2006 @ 10:19 AM MDT
Regarding the hourly incentive plan.It's not the way the world works in general. Good or bad it is just different. When things are not the "norm" they tend to be looked at with a sceptical view. So...this type of arrangement leaves itself open to criticism and you or city management better be able to defend the desision, not just say "the work gets done so shut up and don't complain" sorry, that doesn't cut it.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: oshwi324 on Thursday, May 04 2006 @ 11:39 AM MDT
But come on, it's garbage pickup. Other than leaving a mess, which has been complained about and should be taken of, as long as they get the job done, I don't really care how long it takes.There are other jobs that work under the same principle. Construction is a great example. Those guys don't get paid by the hour, they get paid by the job. Shingle a house for $2000. Great! I don't care if it takes you 2 days or 2 weeks, you get 2 grand either way.Garbage pickup is viewed as the same thing. Seriously, who wants this job anyways? If they can do it more efficiently and get out of work a little sooner, I certainly don't care.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: mjs on Thursday, May 04 2006 @ 01:28 PM MDT
you have a right to your opinion and I have a right to mine.I'm just looking at the metrics of it.Officially, how are they listed as being compensated in the Union contract? By the hour? By the day? I would submit if the contract says HOURLY, and based on a standard 8 hour work day, then thats what should be worked.If the contract is written differently, well then produce it and justify the "by day" position you're taking.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: oshwi324 on Thursday, May 04 2006 @ 02:13 PM MDT
You're nitpicking a little, aren't you? Is your garbage not picked up to your satisfaction? Obviously not. I don't understand what the big deal is. MJS, you are obviously someone who is down on city government and you're going to find something to complain about no matter what.For the record, I tried to get into the city's website to research the contract, but the link is broken.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: chzhead on Friday, May 05 2006 @ 06:31 AM MDT
Since we are harping at symantics, has anyone thought about how they are torturing the equipment by the way garbage is collected?If you accelerate hard and brake hard, shift from forward to reverse and back again hundreds of times a day, it will take its toll on the $200k+ trucks that the city is forced to replace after only 5-7 years of use. That is wrong. You want to complain about the fee, think about what is costing the most. The fact that they get the job done in less than 8 hours is not a factor. It is the method they use to get it done is. They only get paid for 8 hours. They would get that anyway. We just need them to take better care of the equipment and save our cost of repairs and replacement. Not a big savings, but a savings non the less.

Garbage Fee
Authored by: mjs on Friday, May 05 2006 @ 09:51 AM MDT
"Authored by: chzhead on Friday, May 05 2006 @ 06:31 AM MDT Since we are harping at symantics, has anyone thought about how they are torturing the equipment by the way garbage is collected?If you accelerate hard and brake hard, shift from forward to reverse and back again hundreds of times a day, it will take its toll on the $200k+ trucks that the city is forced to replace after only 5-7 years of use. That is wrong. You want to complain about the fee, think about what is costing the most. The fact that they get the job done in less than 8 hours is not a factor. It is the method they use to get it done is. They only get paid for 8 hours. They would get that anyway. We just need them to take better care of the equipment and save our cost of repairs and replacement. Not a big savings, but a savings non the less."
Outstanding observation chzhead!

Garbage Fee
Authored by: DBCooper on Sunday, May 07 2006 @ 12:12 AM MDT
Incentive systems are only as good as the management that is supposed to be managing them.We have an incentive system in Oshkosh, like it or not, that pays sanitation workers for 8 hours of work regardless of how long it takes them to run their designated routes.Because we have poor management of the incentive system, we have issues with not all of the garbage being picked up, we have issues with messes being left behind, we have issues with worker (and citizen) safety, and we have issues with excessive wear and tear on vehicles, all of which have been pointed out in other posts on this thread.MJS, you are 100% correct when you say "what does the contract say"! The contract does not say (can't check it now as the link is broken) anything about going home early when the route is completed. This is YET ANOTHER example of poor management. Through poor management, we now have a condition known as "past practice" if the issue should go through the greivance procedure to arbitration. Management has allowed it for such a long period of time that no matter what the contract says, the union can just expect it to be the norm, and there is a very good chance that an arbitrator would side with the union.I'll say it again: Provided that the incentive system is properly managed, I don't have a problem with it. But, it's not properly managed! I'm getting the idea that you don't understand incentive systems. If that is the case, there isn't enough room on this message board for me to fully explain them to you, and I certainly can't explain all the details of time and motion studies, route analysis (potentially via computer, data, and GPS), etc, to show you how the standards are developed. The point I'm trying to make here is that Oshkosh is not out developing some new kind of program on their own. (If you do think that, you may be giving them too much credit???) The incentive system of 8 hours pay for the route is an "industry standard" in that it is in place from sea to shining sea. The industry in this case is that of a defined route. Rural letter carriers, trash collection, milk delivery, newspaper delivery, etc are all examples.This is sometimes called a "task system", and examples where a task system are employed would be janitorial work, and in some cases automotive repair. The difference is, say in automotive repair, the worker does not go home after completing 8 hours work in 6 hours, he or she completes more tasks in 8 hours and then gets paid for 12 hours or whatever the pace is set at. This used to be called "piece work" in industrial settings, and it was governed by trained time study specialists on both the union and management side.You can't complete "more tasks per day" on a garbage route. Once the route is complete there won't be more trash until the next day! Having workers do something like say cut grass just means you are paying them more money. You haven't saved a single dime.Ah, you say, but we're saving their benefits! In theory, yes. In reality, you won't. If the workers incentive is to leave early, as has been pointed out before they will simply slow down. Money in the form of overtime is not all it used to be cracked up to be. Some workers prefer time off. Also, if for some reason the route is slower, maybe there is an equipment breakdown, or some cleanup like after a big storm hits ala 2001, the workers aren't available to do the extra work that you were planning on them doing.Here is the proof that this is a concept used all over the country, since you seem to think it is something new to Oshkosh: Toledo: see where it says "Toledo's refuse employees work on an incentive system that allows them to end their work shift whenever they finish their routes. Albuquerque:
(note that it isn't working there for the same reasons as in Oshkosh!)
Maui: one paragraph up from the bottom of the page : I'll save you reading the entire article, about 90% of the way through it says this "an incentive plan under which workers can go home early if they finish their route ahead of schedule.
I could cite further examples from rural letter carriers, etc, my hope is that you see from the above that "going home early" is in fact used in a lot more places than just Oshkosh. From the comfort of my easy chair, I can't provide you with the proof you seek about who else is using the system in this area. You will have to trust me when I say Appleton, Green Bay, Mosinee, etc. In reality, the number of cities in this area that pick up their own garbage has been shrinking for years, (BIG HINT HINT!!!) and I can't tell you what the private refuse haulers are doing in a lot of the area communities!