Petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker have , but the practice of gathering those signatures left some unresolved issues within the village.
A Shorewood resident said she had a disagreement with Whitefish Bay village employees and a police officer on Dec. 30 while trying to collect signatures by the entrance to Village Hall. Linea Sundstrom contended that she was on public property. Those employees, and one detective, claimed otherwise.
When the detective told her that she could go to jail if the petition was signed while on village property, she moved to the sidewalk, which she said caused the petitions to be damaged by the rain.
It turns out that Sundstrom was within her rights, and on Monday she asked village trustees to initiate training for village employees to instruct them that Village Hall is public property and that employees should not discriminate against people of differing political opinions. Roughly 20 to 30 residents supported her at the meeting, and some spoke on her behalf.
According to a March 2011 memorandum from Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel for the state's Government Accountability Board, there is no statute governing the use of government buildings for political activity, and it is up to local communities to decide what to allow.
The village initially in Village Hall. Then in early December, Village Attorney Chris Jaekels drafted a memorandum that changed the village's approach. The memo stated that “village parks, streets, and grounds must be open to all such solicitation that does not threaten health, safety, or public order, or otherwise damage private or public property.”
Sundstrom spoke during the public comment section of the meeting, so trustees could only listen and not respond. She and her supporters left soon thereafter.
Village Manager Patrick DeGrave said after the meeting that Jaekels' memo was originally given to the village clerk, but not to everyone at Village Hall. He said the memo has since been distributed to all village employees, making everyone more cognizant that Village Hall is indeed public property.
DeGrave said Sundstrom had every right to circulate petitions at Village Hall, and he said the detective, who is now retired, acted based on what he thought was the law. He said he will talk to Police Chief Robert Jacobs about reaching out to the woman talking about the incident.