Mark Modory receives approval for mayoral appointment
At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, Mark Modory was approved for his mayoral appointment to the Kenosha City/County Joint Services Board of Directors. His term would expire on May 1, 2014. This item had been deferred from the previous meeting which was held on February 20, 2012. The issue at that meeting was the fact that Modory had failed to mention that he served on the Ethics Board of the organization, Kenoshans for Open & Honest Government, when he completed his economic disclosure statement. Last month, the council wanted the issue to be delved into; therefore, the item was sent back to the Public Safety & Welfare Committee for further review. (To read about the Public Safety & Welfare Committee’s review, click here: Dredging is a Topic on the Public Safety & Welfare Committee Agenda.)
Tonight’s review was not without its own set of questions. Alderperson David Bogdala started the discussion with a question about his involvement on the Ethics Board of that organization. Modory replied that he is merely a volunteer; he is not a dues-paying member, and he is not a friend on FaceBook. Bogdala thought that this affiliation should have been listed on the form because the form asks that all “paid or unpaid” positions be listed. Ed Antaramian, city attorney, disagreed. He stated that “a Boy Scout leader would not have to be listed, for example. The form is calling for something more, an officer or a director of an organization.” Bogdala then asked, “So, now we are making it up as we’re going along? It’s too bad that we didn’t have this ruling a year and a half ago. We could have saved the taxpayers $60,000 in frivolous law suits.” Modory stated that the Ethics Committee votes as a committee of the whole. “Feel free to add it on, if it makes you feel better,” he told Bogdala. But, Bogdala replied that it’s not for him to add it.
Alderperson Tod Ohnstad stated that he was pleased to vote for Modory for his appointment to the Joint Services Board of Directors. He also said that he was surprised earlier in the week when another alderperson told him that the Chief of Police had a problem with Modory’s appointment. Ohnstad called Chief John Morrissey to the podium and asked him if he had any problems with Modory serving on the board, and Morrisey replied that he did not. Morrissey said that “he knows of Modory, and that he appears before the Public Safety & Welfare Committee, but that he has no opinion of him one way or the other.” The Public Safety & Welfare Committee voted unanimously to approve Modory at their last meeting.
Alderperson Ray Misner stated that he was frustrated by the forms. Misner mentioned how Scott Barter had gone after him when he felt that Misner had left something off of his form. “It’s pretty bad when you have to go after those who disagree with you. Others, if favored, are OK to leave information on forms. It’s who you know. Good connections get you someplace on this committee.” Alderperson G. John Ruffolo had some further questions for Modory. “Are you co-chair of the Ethics Committee? Aren’t you and Attorney Madrigrano co-chairs?” Modory replied that he was not. “There are five members of the Ethics Committee. I hope it’s never needed. In my twenty years, there has only been one instance where the committee needed to be called together. I was asked to volunteer.” Ruffolo asked Modory if he had to appear in front of anyone, and the answer was no.
Alderperson Patrick Juliana said that “every day, people volunteer to do something. I don’t know why we’re here. He said that he would amend it, if needed. There is no position; he’s a volunteer. It’s argumentative, at best. I am voting to approve.” Alderperson Anthony Kennedy also showed his support. “If I had two votes, I’d give them both to Mark. He helped me run the 10th District. He’s a valuable asset. He understands that Joint Services is not a county or a city entity. He understands this uniquely. He is going to try to get Madison to make a change for us as far as the County insurance. He has the vision/experience and understands the issues. We need to clarify this question so we don’t lose good people who volunteer to help.” He offered to help Bogdala re-write this question to make it clearer.
Bogdala stated that he accepts anything that makes the language better and provides a reasonable compromise. He stated that another member of the city attorney’s office had told him that the item should have been included. “I guess if you ask two attorneys, you get four different opinions. I have a right to vote up or down on a mayoral appointment, and I’m voting no.”
A roll call was taken, and the vote was 12 to 2 to approve Modory. The two dissenting votes came from Misner and Bogdala.