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The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

What is a Comptroller and What was Asked in the Open Records Request Causing the Issue?

Cudahy, James Williamson, Open Records Request, Info

“Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and be of service to him.  And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.”  -  St. Francis of Assisi

 

A comptroller, also known as a controller, is a very important person in any business.  The comptroller supervises income and expenditures, keeping track of all ingoing and outgoing money.

 

The comptroller is the chief accountant in a business or other entity.  Governments, for example, also employ a comptroller.  Naturally, this kind of comptroller is responsible for tracking many more accounts payable and accounts receivable than the comptroller who tracks such activity for a run-of-the-mill company.  Nevertheless, such companies need a comptroller just as much as governments do.

 

Source: Wisgeek

 

The principal responsibility of the City Comptroller is to maintain all the financial records of the city in an orderly fashion and to ensure that the fiscal integrity is maintained.

 

Remember Cudahy voters voted to split off the City Comptroller from the Clerk Treasurer position for the 2007 election season.

 

I am going to give some important parts of the Wisconsin Open Records Law.  If you want the whole thing click here.

 

Wisconsin Open Records Law

 

Wis. Stat. § 19.31-19.39 (2003)

 

 

19.31. Declaration of policy.

In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them.  Further, providing persons with such information is declared to be an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of officers and employees whose responsibility it is to provide such information.  To that end, ss. 19.32 to 19.37 shall be construed in every instance with a presumption of complete public access, consistent with the conduct of governmental business.  The denial of public access generally is contrary to the public interest, and only in an exceptional case may access be denied.

 

19.35. Access to records; fees.

 

(1) RIGHT TO INSPECTION.

 

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, any requester has a right to inspect any record. Substantive common law principles construing the right to inspect, copy or receive copies of records shall remain in effect.  The exemptions to the requirement of a governmental body to meet in open session under s. 19.85 are indicative of public policy, but may be used as grounds for denying public access to a record only if the authority or legal custodian under s. 19.33 makes a specific demonstration that there is a need to restrict public access at the time that the request to inspect or copy the record is made.

(am)  In addition to any right under par.  (a), any requester who is an individual or person authorized by the individual, has a right to inspect any record containing personally identifiable information pertaining to the individual that is maintained by an authority and to make or receive a copy of any such information.

 

4) TIME FOR COMPLIANCE AND PROCEDURES.

 

(a) Each authority, upon request for any record, shall, as soon as practicable and without delay, either fill the request or notify the requester of the authoritys determination to deny the request in whole or in part and the reasons therefor.

 

(6) ELECTED OFFICIAL RESPONSIBILITIES.  No elected official is responsible for the record of any other elected official unless he or she has possession of the record of that other official.

 

19.37. Enforcement and penalties.

 

(1) MANDAMUS.  If an authority withholds a record or a part of a record or delays granting access to a record or part of a record after a written request for disclosure is made, the requester may pursue either, or both, of the alternatives under pars.  (a) and (b)

(a) The requester may bring an action for mandamus asking a court to order release of the record.  The court may permit the parties or their attorneys to have access to the requested record under restrictions or protective orders as the court deems appropriate.

(b) The requester may, in writing, request the district attorney of the county where the record is found, or request the attorney general, to bring an action for mandamus asking a court to order release of the record to the requester. The district attorney or attorney general may bring such an action.

 

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.  Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.  Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.  Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.”  -  St. Francis of Assisi

 

What did I ask the Cudahy Clerk Treasurer for in the Open Records Request?  If you scroll down to the bold area, that is where I ask.  Please take note of dates!

 

From: Randy Hollenbeck

To: Ryan McCue

Cc: Paul Eberhardy; Joe Mikolajczak; Mary Schissel; Mark Otto; Jason Litkowiec; Thomas Pavlic; Robert Goss

Sent: Sun Apr 26 18:05:18 2009

Subject: RE: Cell Phone records

 

While we wait for clarification on Mayor McCue's comment of "meets regularly to create a handbook, which is a long and deliberate process" on the word deliberate, "on purpose" to understand if the process is on purpose being drawn out, I have a few follow up questions.

 

First, some questions for all of us to think about:

 

Does past practice trump right and wrong or common sense?

 

Just because you can do something, does that make it the right thing to do?

 

Do two wrongs make a right?

 

If someone is capable of lying about one thing, can they lie about another thing?

 

Can you trust people that lie?

 

What is a man without his word?

 

Now I said all of us, because originally I kept this just between Mayor McCue and myself.  As I said in my original email to the Mayor, I am a man of my word, but when Mayor McCue decided to include others, well the word I gave in no longer needed!  This is a subject that begs to be blogged and possibly reported on.  I will include some media as well. 

 

The follow-up questions will be directed to the Cudahy City Clerk and Treasurer Robert Goss.

 

Mr. Goss, Mayor McCue has stated the following and I quote:

 

"I have paid for all personal calls made using City of Cudahy's mobile phone.  Since Cudahy does not have a mobile phone policy, I self imposed the policy that I followed while serving on the Milwaukee County Board, which was to pay for personal calls.  As far as I know, I am not the first Cudahy Mayor to make personal calls on the City's mobile phone, yet I am the first to pay for them."

 

1.         Does the city show a record of payments from Mayor Ryan McCue on using the City of Cudahy's mobile phone for his personal phone calls?

2.         Since the city most likely has a cell phone plan that allots asset amount of calls or a block of time, are the personal calls prorated against the plan?

3.         Does the payment reflect any roaming charges and or special charges for the personal phone calls?

4.         How often are personal calls made on the city use cell phones?

 

Mr. Goss please reply to all as I am sure we all would like to know.

 

I don’t think it was unreasonable for the City Clerk Treasure to ask the City Comptroller who keeps track of the City accounting records when payment of an expense was asked.  What does a comptroller do again - The comptroller supervises income and expenditures, keeping track of all ingoing and outgoing money.

 

“If a superior give any order to one who is under him which is against that man's conscience, although he do not obey it yet he shall not be dismissed.” -  St. Francis of Assisi

 

What was the City Clerk Treasure finding?

 

From: Robert Goss [mailto:gossr@CI.CUDAHY.WI.US]

Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 4:09 PM

To: Randy Hollenbeck; Ryan McCue

Cc: Paul Eberhardy; Joe Mikolajczak; Mary Schissel; Mark Otto; Jason Litkowiec; Thomas Pavlic

Subject: RE: Cell Phone records

 

After asking the Mayor to provide cancelled checks he stated he has to prove his payments, which he refused to provide, I continued searching extensively with assistance from City Accountant Schuknecht for any evidence Mayor McCue has made to the City of Cudahy to repay personal phone calls, of which we do not have any policy in place, I found only the following:

1 payment of $33.15 made on 04/30/2009

Per your questions:

1.         Does the city show a record of payments from Mayor Ryan McCue on using the City of Cudahy's mobile phone for his personal phone calls?

Only one payment described above.

 

2.         Since the city most likely has a cell phone plan that allots a set amount of calls or a block of time, are the personal calls prorated against the plan?

No

 

3.         Does the payment reflect any roaming charges and or special charges for the personal phone calls?

Not sure how the payment was calculated by Mayor McCue.

 

4.         How often are personal calls made on the city use cell phones?

I would think most use their phones mainly for City business and with very limited personal calls but this also makes them available to all City residents everyday.

 

Mr. Hollenbeck, If I can be of any assistance to you please let me know as I work for you and ALL CUDAHY residents!

 

Robert L. Goss

City of Cudahy Clerk/Treasurer

Office-414-769-2204

Cell----414-405-5534

Fax----414-769-2257

5050 S. Lake Drive Cudahy, WI 53110

E-mail  gossr@ci.cudahy.wi.us

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