It seems that the Journal Sentinel has at last picked up on a story has been blogged about for some time over on Metro Milwaukee Today. Greg Kowalski at MMT got word that Mr. Ralph Voltner, a longtime St. Francis City Administrator,”wanted to receive two burial plots as a bonus payment.” The JS also found that Mr. Voltner pulled some strings to get the city to deliver “a large granite rock from the city’s public works garage… to his house free of charge; and two burial plots in the city-owned cemetery adjacent to his house.”
While Mr. Voltner called his plan to get graves and a granite gravestone at cost to the city [my emphasis] “a joke,” to me, that is nothing like a joke. Using taxpayer dollars on that is not a joke. When someone has devoted his life to working for the city, his work should be honored and respected. But arranging for the city to give you a large piece of granite rock and two graves at cost to the city is not funny. It’s a serious violation of public turst.
Unfortunately, these sorts of violations happen more often than one may think. Or it may not surprise you at all, given the sort of bad behavior we’ve seen in the county, state, and federal government. At the same time, I don’t think we except this sort of behavior on the local level, which makes it more shocking. The St. Francis city council tried to sit on records of the action, the Journal Sentinel appears to have gotten their hands on the paperwork through an open records request.
The JS coverage is over here.
Congratulations for your persistence on this matter, Greg. This has been another example of how blogs are positively influencing the mainstream media.
Also: What conditions are permitetd for the St. Francis Common Council to have a closed meeting? Why was the deal to give the gravestone and plots heard in a closed meeting? Is that even legal?