Saturday, April 16, 2011

Delafield Officials Throw Hissy Fit Over Library's Use of Council Chambers

Council clashes over library use of its chamber. (Lake Country Reporter, 4/11/2011)

Excerpt: For the second time in two weeks, tempers have flared during a Common Council debate. The latest incident occurred when aldermen clashed April 4 over whether the library should be permitted to conduct some of its programs in the Common Council meeting room.

Library Board members and staff say using the room is necessary for library programs that draw too many people to conduct in the library.

City Administrator Tim Schuenke said city staff is concerned that the council chambers could be soiled or damaged as a result of children's programs. The meeting room includes new carpeting, padded chairs and an extensive electronic system.

Alderman Gerald MacDougall argued the library should conduct programs that require more meeting space in the Fish Hatchery, about a half-mile from the Civic Center. McDougall asserted that the library and its patrons were "guests" of the city, and the civic center was built for conducting city business, not providing meeting space for library programs that include non-city residents.

"I think our Library Board is opening up the use of council chambers to residents of the nine surrounding communities (that also use the library), and I think that is fundamentally wrong," MacDougall argued.

Alderman Jeff Krickhahn, who is also chairman of the Library Board, strenuously objected to McDougall's use of the term "guests." Krickhahn said that the Library Board and the Plan B Committee, which crafted the initial conceptual design for the civic center, struck a compromise that would allow the library to conduct programs that required larger meeting space in the Common Council chamber.

Alderman Erv Sadowski noted that voters had rejected two referendums seeking to build a bigger facility.

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