City to review key card system for muni building

A resolution sponsored by Alderperson Kevin Mathewson (8th District) to direct that all alderpersons be given a key to the Kenosha city’s municipal office building was deferred by the Common Council at their meeting tonight, and referred to the Finance and Public Works Committees for working out the details and looking at the cost.

Mayor Keith Bosman said that there are advantages to this issue, such as tracking the entrance and exit times of employees, who’s entering the building when, and when they are leaving.  There will only be certain hours that the keys will be able to be used.  “It makes sense,” he said.

Mathewson said that this was a housekeeping item.  There is an alderperson meeting room that he has made use of, and sometimes, he needs it after 4:30 pm during the week and on the weekends.  He said that he asked city staff if there was a policy and found out that there was not.  He asked the city attorney for a legal opinion, and he found that the “Common Council has management and control of city property.”  Racine provides keys to their alderpersons, and Appleton uses a key card system for their alderpersons.

Apparently, there are 60 people who currently have keys to the building, and Mathewson said that he’d like to have a key in order to be able to meet with his constituents in the “building that they’ve paid for with their taxes.”

Alderperson Eric Haugaard said that he was not sure if it was needed.  He promised Mathewson that he would talk to the Common Council members but, because it was not a high priority, he was not able to discuss it with everyone yet.  He then stated that he wasn’t ready to make judgment on this issue, and he wanted to defer the issue for more time.  He promised to continue to do his research.

The mayor did say that, in his 12 years on the Common Council, he never had a need to get into city hall after hours.  He said that there are plenty of places to meet with constituents.  The water utility system uses a card system.  When a person leaves the employment of the city, it’s a good way to deny their access.  They are looking at the system now.  “It’s in its early stages,” he said.

Alderperson Anthony Kennedy said that, if Mathewson believes he needs access as a tool in how he needs to do his job (like his Facebook page), that he would only support it if it was the first step in adding a key card system access to the building.  He stated that “he’d rather be pro-active versus reactive,” and he asked to be added as a co-sponsor to the resolution.

Kennedy had provided an amendment to the resolution adding two ‘whereas’ clauses, and a ‘be it further resolved’ clause.  Kennedy’s amendment read:

“WHEREAS, there are over 60 individuals with key access to the Municipal Office Building;

WHEREAS, there is no effective method in place currently in which to control and record entry to the Municipal Office Building;

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Common Council directs City Administration to begin the process to have an electronic, individually coded, key card access system installed in the Municipal Office Building.”

Alderperson Daniel Prozanski wanted to know if it was Kennedy’s intent to say that “there was no effective method in place currently in which to control and record entry to the Municipal Office Building” after hours.  He said that he thought it was fine.  “Will it be main door access?”  Kennedy said that he didn’t have an entire security plan in mind yet.  Mathewson said that alderpersons will not be given access to certain parts of the building, such as the Finance Department and the City Administrator’s Office.

Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia said that he was against this resolution.  “There are tons of places to go.  This will open up a can of worms.  If this does pass, I don’t want a key.”  Alderpersons Scott Gordon and Michael Orth also stated that they didn’t want keys either.  Gordon said that he didn’t feel the need to be here after hours.  Orth wanted to see policies developed and access to a coded system implemented.  He wanted to see it referred to other committees for review.

Alderperson Patrick Juliana wanted to know where Mathewson was going with this.  “Does this include all property paid for by tax dollars?  Like fire engines, weapons, etc.?  What if a psychologically challenged person wanted to take the chief’s car or get into the weapons room?  Don’t laugh,” he said.  “I usually have my constituents come to my home, or I go to where they’re at.  That’s usually where the problem is at.  I can’t support it,” he said.  “It scares me.”

Prozanski wanted to add to the third paragraph the words, “installed and develop the policies and procedures governing this system in the Municipal Office Building.”  He said that he personally wouldn’t use it, but he said that he didn’t believe he had the right to tell others they can’t.  He said that he would support the resolution with his friendly amendment.  Haugaard said that he, too, would support the amendment, but he wanted to know the cost.

Orth wanted to know if this applied to only key card access systems.  “How about hard key use?”  Prozanski answered “any and all access, retina scans, thumb prints.”  Orth said that there are things that require clarification.  “If lights turn on in the middle of the night, security would be there to check it out.  That will pull police resources.”  He suggested the resolution be sent to the Finance and Public Works Committees to discuss the security issues.  He then made a motion to defer and refer to the committees to work out the details. The paragraphs could then be added at the committee level.  The mayor said that he felt that the deferral was in order.

Orth then withdrew his deferral in place of the amendment.  Mathewson said that he was feeling that the council was having a kumbaya moment.  He was willing to “defer it to the two committees and get it right the first time.”

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