We at the UW Extension Local Government Center remain deeply saddened 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.
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 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 »
Posted: December 6th, 2013 under City and Village, County, Local Government Center, Municipal, Parlimentary Procedure, Parlimentary procedure and Effective Meetings, Town.
Tags: Local Government, Local Government Center, Meetings, Parliamentary Procedure
When local governments face complex issues, ‘wicked’ problems, or big opportunities, policy discussions can become challenging, even contentious. Bill Rizzo, from UW Extension’s Local Government Center, will offer local officials via WisLine teleconference ideas for creating and sustaining a civil environment where they can work effectively with a broad range of community stakeholders to address important local issues.
The WisLine will be delivered live by teleconference Tuesday, December 17, 2013. To register, download the series brochure or call (608)262-0810. The WisLine is part of the Current Issues Affecting Local Government Officials WisLine series and available for a $20 fee. Online audiostream is available approximately two weeks later by audiostream for a $28.
Bill will introduce a collaborative approach to local governance that brings together local officials, citizens, and local organizations in structured conversations to name and frame issues, and develop policy alternatives. Bill will be accepting your questions during the WisLine presentation.
Prior to coming to the Local Government Center, Bill worked as a UW Extension Community Resource Development Educator, in Dane County, for sixteen years. There, his work with all levels of local government provided him with valuable perspective on the challenges of local government, and the potential for improving the local governance environment. His work now focuses on helping local officials create more collaborative, deliberative local governance environments.
We hope you can join us!
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 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 »
Posted: October 10th, 2013 under City and Village, County, Legislation, Local Government Center, Municipal, New Laws, Town.
Tags: budget, Local Government, Local Government Center, new legislation, UW Extension Learning Store, WisLines
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/County 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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
Posted: September 5th, 2012 under Budget, City and Village, County, Finance, Local Government Center, Municipal, Town.
Tags: budget, Finance, Local Government, Local Government Center, workshops
Each year, Carol Doran of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue would travel around the state and put on free half-day workshops for town clerks about how to complete their Form CT financial report. With Carol’s retirement and no replacement yet in position, there will be no live workshops this year. Carol did conduct a WisLine program called “Completing the Financial Report Form C” on March 3, 2009 and that is still available to you! Go to the UW-Extension Learning Store to order the online program and materials. If you would like to order the CD and materials, please complete this order form and mail to the Local Government Center. Read more »
March 12, 2012 ,Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess found Wisconsin’s Act 23, the Voter ID law, in violation of the right to vote under the Wisconsin Constitution, and permanently enjoined its enforcement. In another case ,on March 6, Dane County Judge David Flanagan entered a preliminary injunction halting implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23. Trial is set for April 16th to decide the lawsuit challenging law. You can read preliminary injunction decision here.