Wed, 27 Mar 2013 20:19:23 GMT — How well do you trust the people who manage your tax dollars? Theresa Smith, the former clerk in Fence, said her town officials aren't managing money correctly and fears she and other taxpayers will be footing the bill. Smith was removed as clerk for not having a good working relationship with the other board members. However, she says these issues are about awareness and accountability...nothing more. ??I??m actually hoping that this shows other people in other towns, cities and villages that you have to act appropriately,?? said Smith. ??You have to follow the law; you have to have accurate records. Maybe it??ll prevent anything happening like this in any other city, town or village." Smith insisted that board members are taking illegal pay raises, have discrepancies in their finances and never presented the people a combination ballot for clerk and treasurer in 2010. ??I was just looking at the budget. I had nothing particular in mind; I just wanted to help the board fix their finances so that we had accurate records for the town,?? Smith explained. According to Wisconsin Town Statutes, any compensation of elective offices is set by a town vote. The 2008 Annual Meeting minutes show the salaries of Fence's five positions, however, since 2011, all increased from 25 to 75 percent. When requesting the minutes that support their increased wages, the board gave me a piece of paper with it written down by hand. ??If anybody questions the increase, they're gonna have to be shown the minutes,?? explained Wausaukee Town Supervisor Rober Jicha, ??whether it be the typed minutes or the taped minutes. And if those minutes don't exist, I would have to say that the raise didn't exist.?? Robert Jicha has been a Township Supervisor for approximately 30 years and doesn't know anyone involved in the story. I contacted him for an independent opinion on the findings in which he highlighted some inconsistencies in their budgets and financial documents. ??You want to have the best knowledge of what you spent the prior years,?? Jicha insisted. "If you don't have finite numbers, you??re gonna end up with problems in the budget.?? Smith said she presented the discrepancies to the boards?? attention for years, but adds they refuse to listen. She then motioned to combine clerk and treasurer in 2009 because, according to state statutes, once combined, the town would be audited. The 2009 annual meeting minutes show the motion passed for a combination seat and would be put on a referendum ballot. In addition, a 2010 town board meeting also acknowledges the motion passed, but Smith said the combined positions were never placed on a ballot. ??The 2011 ballot was supposed to have it as a combined position, but the town presented a ballot that was separate positions,?? Smith said. I attempted to contact all five Fence officials, but only reached the chairman, who said he was unavailable until May for comment. I also sat down with the town's attorney and presented him with the documents I had, but still received no response from Fence officials. The Florence County District Attorney looked into the case and said no charges are being filed.
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