Kenosha citizens turnout to meeting to ask council to support “kill the bill”
Over 125 people were in attendance at Monday’s Kenosha Common Council meeting. Seventeen citizens spoke, mostly in regards to Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill that includes reductions in collective bargaining rights for public employees.
Later on in the evening, a resolution by Mayor Keith Bosman and Aldermen Daniel Prozanski Jr., Michael Orth, Tod Ohnstad, Jan Michalski, Rocco LaMacchia and Ray Misner to register the opposition of the city to efforts by the governor and/or the legislature to adversely affect the collective bargaining ability of government employees, was passed unanimously.
Michael Gable, a Kenosha County supervisor, informed everyone of the Kenosha County Board Meeting Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m., where a similar action will be considered.
“Negotiate, don’t dictate,” Gable said.
Jeff Weidner, president of the firefighter’s union, spoke on behalf of himself and 15 of his colleagues. His family has had a firefighter for five generations, since 1881. Only the last three generations had the ability to bargain for rights.
“We are public servants, not public enemies,” Weidner said.
Richard Bauman, president of the Building and Housing Inspectors Association, held up a sign reading, “We Support Public Employee Rights.”
“We are able to manage the city correctly; it’s too bad the State can’t do the same,” Bauman said.
Karen Kempenen, a Kenosha Unified School District employee for 39 years, spoke against special education funds being cut.
Patti Prosco, a special education assistant at the Pleasant Prairie Elementary School, stated that Walker’s comment was that “public employees should feel the pain.” She said she wanted to know “how much pain does Mr. Walker feel?”
Donna Dickinson, vice president of Local 990, representing county employees, jailers, and social workers, told the council to “kill the bill; send the resolution.”
Scott McDonald, a teacher, said “Kenosha values education; Kenosha values workers.”
Lucas Aid, a special educator and father of four, said Wisconsin is second in SAT scores. The bottom five states made labor unions illegal.
“Is that what we want for Wisconsin — to be one of the bottom five states?” Aid asked.
Dave Dominy thanked state Sen. Bob Wirch, who has left the state with other Senate Democrats to prevent a vote on Walker’s budget repair bill. Dominy said he took his children to Madison to see how government works. A Chinese woman in the audience stated to him and his children, “The opportunity to have a voice and participate in debate “wouldn’t happen in my country,” Dominy said.
There was enthusiastic applause after many of the speakers, and also after the roll call vote was announced, even though Mayor Bosman asked the audience to keep decorum.