Links

Pages

Dates of Local Call posts

July 2014
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Post Subject Areas

Regulating the Rocket’s Red Glare

Local Governments receive many questions about fireworks, and especially during the July 4 holiday.  The Local Government Center has identified these online resources to help answer questions.f  Click the titles to connect to the information source.  And Have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

2014 Board of Review Training Returns

Local Government Center Board of Review Training with certification fromcropped BOR Department of Revenue returns April and May 2014.  Training is available in more than one format. The a basic program is an update of the dial-in WisLine Teleconference.  A DVD for continuing board members is being offered at a one-time program on April 30 at 9 AM to 11:30 AM at 31 sites around Wisconsin, followed by a Question and Answer session by WisLine with the panel of experts.  First time board members may view the video and be certified, but it is suggested they use one of the basic programs by WisLine, streaming or CD material bundles.

The video portrays a board of review hearing.  After each segment a panel Read more »

New Fact Sheet Helps with Electronic Meeting Questions

The Local Government Center routinely receives questions about an official wanting to participate in a meeting by phone or conducting a conference callcomplete meeting by teleconference.  Winter brings a lot of these inquiries when hazardous travel or absent “snowbirds” give rise to the desire or need for an official or several to participate in a meeting by phone or other electronic media.

A new Electronic Meetings Fact Sheet offers guidance on issues raised by these requests or by attempting to conduct meetings through phone or other communication means.  This fact sheet considers issues raised under Wisconsin’s Open Meeting Law and how Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised affect electronic meetings.  It also offers some practical thoughts on the challenges of chairing or participating in an electronic meeting.

The fact sheet gives more serious thought to practical issues amusingly illustrated in a recent You Tube video entitled: A Conference Call in Real Life.  In that video a group dramatizes conference call meeting mishaps as if everyone were in the same room, such as dogs barking or appliance noises or silence when an attendee is asked a question because the person responding forgot to take their phone off mute. Local Government Specialist Dan Hill authored the fact sheet and commented that the YouTube video points out many of the potential problems faced in an actual electronic meeting.  Problems we can hope to avoid by reviewing the Electronic Meetings Fact sheet today.  Find it on the Local Government Center web site: http://lgc.uwex.edu/ under the Documents tab.

In Memoriam: Ken Nelson

We at the UW Extension Local Government Center remain deeply saddenedKenNelson by the news of Ken Nelson’s passing on November 26, 2013.  Ken assisted in the formation of the Local Government Center over 20 years ago, and served as co-director until his retirement.   Ken helped guide many UW Extension faculty and local governments.  It was an honor to be a part of his life.

Quorum And Attendance Of Members At Local Government Meetings

Situation:  It is important that members of local government boards, councils, and committees attend every meeting in its entirety so that each decision made is as representative of the will of the body as possible.  In addition, it is required that a quorum, a specified number of members or proportion of the membership, be MC900438736[1]present at a meeting for any decisions made to be valid and binding on the body.  Non-attendance at meetings,  or early departure from them, can prevent the body from conducting business.

(Note that quorum requirements apply to local government bodies but not to meetings of the electorate as in annual town meetings or annual school district budget meetings.)

What is the number of members required to constitute a quorum?  Unless otherwise specified, a quorum of a public body is a majority of the members unless a greater number is set by law.  For example, the quorum of a city council having more than five members is two-thirds of the members. The governing body may set the quorum requirements for its committees.

[Note that “quorum” refers to the minimum number or proportion of the membership that must be present to have a meeting in which decisions that bind the body can be made.  The number of votes required to make some changes or pass some measures varies, so that in some cases the number of votes required to act is more than the number required for a quorum.  Local government officials should check the statutes and their own rules for specific vote requirements.] 

What is the effect of not having a quorum at meetings?  When a meeting is attended by fewer members than those required to constitute a quorum, Read more »

Legislative Update Teleconference Tailored for Local Government Officials

How has the recently-passed 2013-2015 budget impacted your ability to conduct your community’s business?

With the day-to-day concerns of getting things done in our communities, you don’t always have the opportunity to follow the legislative sessions and budget process as closely as you would like. Luckily there are people like Rick Stadelman, Mark O’Connell, and Curt Witynski, representatives from Wisconsin’s three major local government associations, who not only track developments, but have the experience and insight to see how legislation and the new budget will affect local government.

Don’t miss this chance to be updated and informed  by Mature couple with laptop.Rick Stadelman, Executive Director, Wisconsin Towns Association; Mark O’Connell, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Counties Association; and Curt Witynski, Assistant Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities. Read more »

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Though Alan Probst recently resigned his Local Government Specialist position at the Local Government Center to assume a position at the Pentagon, the Center and UW-Extension continue to benefit from Al’s work.  The International City/Countyalanlibrary Management Association (ICMA) recently published Alan’s article, “Managing in a Labor Contract Void,” in the on-line edition of Public Management Magazine.  The article provides practical information to local government managers who find themselves managing without a union contract.  Frankly, Read more »

New Factsheets Answer Questions about County Government

UW Extension’s Local Government Center has updated its fact sheet titled County Government in Wisconsin History & Background and created a new fact sheet:  Limits of County Board Administrative Authority.  Fact sheets are brief publications covering specific topics and offer a ready and accessible source of information.   These and other Fact sheets are available on the Center’s Web site.

Wisconsin residents know they live in a county, that county’s name and usually where the courthouse is located.  The details of county government structure may not be so readily understood, or county officials may be looking for clarification of their responsibilities.   There may be specific questions about county government structure and operation, such as:

  • What are the differences between county executives, county administrators and county administrative coordinators?
  • What are Read more »

Updates on Open Records Law Available from Local Government Center and Justice Department

Is that email the town clerk just sent to the town chair a public record?  Is the city’s economic development corporation required to respond to open records requests?  Is a local government required to post a public records policy? Where can you begin to search the answers to these and other Public Records Law questions?  Try starting with two new online resources that were updated in September 2012.

The Local Government Center updated its Public Records Law Fact Sheet number 7 and it is available online.  The 17 page overview introduces Public Records Law (often also referred to as “Open Records Law”) to local officials or citizens, with enough detail to serve as a ready reference guide for any public official or employee.  The answers to the opening questions, above, can be found in the fact sheet.

Another resource has also been recently updated: Public Records Law Compliance Outline  from Wisconsin Attorney General’s office. Read more »

Learn Local Government Budget Information on Your Computer

Is this your first time preparing a budget with your Local Government?  Or are you looking for a refresher or an update?  A recording of a September 2012 the webinar “Developing the Annual Budget” is  available on your home or office on your computer with an Internet connection.  Gain not only a good understanding of what policies and rules that apply but also the “how’s” and “why’s” of local government budgets. The webinar coveresd:

  • Statutory requirements and procedures
  • Fund accounting
  • Necessary considerations, such as revenue projection and debt management, budget components and how each part/fund relates to the entire budget.

The streaming video of this program is available for Free at  The Local Government Center web site.