Community members voice opinions on aldermanic recall
By Mitchell A. Skurzewski
Roughly 45 community members gathered on Tuesday night at Merrill City Hall, to hear public comments from community members on the aldermanic recall effort, at the common council meeting. Only two community members spoke about the recall, one for and one against the recall of five of the eight elected aldermen serving on the council.
The five aldermen a committee of 14 formally filed recall papers to unseat are: 6th District Alderman Dave Sukow, 5th Disrtrict Alderman Paul Russell, 5th District Alderman John Van Lieshout, 8th District Alderman Tim Meehean and 7th District Alderman/ Council President Rob Norton.
Mayor Derek Woellner opened up the meeting to public comment, and community member Heather O’Neill voiced her opinion, including a vehement opposition to the recall.
Among O’Neill’s statements was calling Mark Bares, one of the most outspoken community members in favor of the recall and owner of Les & Jim’s Lincoln Lanes , “stubborn as a mule.” She said those favoring the recall are “stubborn to change.”
O’Neill also said that the community members of Merrill “all play a part in the success or failure” of Merrill.
“(City administrator) Dave Johnson and the council have brought positive changes and the community should be happy and excited for the changes brought forth by this leadership group,” she said.
O’Neill said when she moved to Merrill in 2006 there was nothing going on in Merrill, but because of leadership and the current aldermen, there has been a revitalization due to the alderman supporting change and growth.
LaDonna Fermanich was the only other community member to speak. Fermanich said that the current leadership group should cause concern because of the amount of debt they have accumulated. and continue to dig Merrill into a deeper hole.
“They want us to accept a 7.4 percent tax increase,” she said. “The debt is $29 million and growing, because of the lack of oversight by this committee.” She said there is a lack of responsibility and accountability from the committee and have left community members “ignored and misrepresented.”