Village Board tries to appoint member’s wife

Trustees expected to decide on process instead name Duckart to fill vacancy, but vote invalid because not noticed on agenda


Ozaukee Press staff

A divided Saukville Village Board voted to appoint the wife of one of it’s members to fill a vacant trustee position during a fiery meeting last week.

But after the 3-2 vote was questioned by Ozaukee Press, village officials determined it was invalid because the agenda for the May 16 meeting allowed the board only to decide on a process for filling the vacancy, not make an appointment. The board is expected to reconsider the matter at its next meeting.

Trustee Scott Fischer made the motion to appoint Pamela Duckart instead of seeking applicants and interviewing candidates before naming a board member.

Then Trustee Jesse Duckart, Pamela’s husband, attempted to second the motion but was told by Village Administrator Dawn Wagner, “You cannot second a motion to appoint your own wife.”

Trustees Trevor Seitz, Fischer and William Rudolph voted to appoint Mrs. Duckart.

Village President Andy Hebein and Trustee Jim Nowlen voted against the appointment.

Seitz and Fischer argued that Mrs. Duckart should be appointed because she received the second most write-in votes  for trusteeship in the April 4 election.

Hebein received the most write-in votes for trustee but was elected Village president in a race against Seitz.

An interview process for filling the vacancy was supported by Trustee’s Hebein, Nowlen, and Rudolph– although Rudolph did vote for Mrs. Duckart’s appointment.

They argued that the interview process has been established as precedent for appointments after it was used to fill a vacant seat in 2021.

“We created a process and we approved it. Now we make an exception,” said Hebein. “I find that hard to explain.”

The conflict over filling the vacant seat comes after a debate at the May 2 meeting that left the board at an impasse.

After lengthy debate at that meeting, Nowlen, Rudolph and Hebein supported a motion to use an interview process to select the appointment.

The motion resulted in a tie vote, with Seitz, Fischer and Mr. Duckart voting against.

“Based on what I’ve heard from prior trustee’s they didn’t care for the process,” Mr. Duckart said during an interview.

Fischer expressed similar concerns about the interview process.

Fischer, seconded by Seitz, then made a motion to appoint Mrs. Duckart, which resulted in a 2-2 vote, with Mr. Duckart  unable to vote due to the conflict of interest and Rudolph abstaining.

“That was my first meeting and I did not feel comfortable being the tie breaking vote,” Rudolph said during an interview.

He declined to comment on why he later voted for Pamela’s appointment and reiterated his support for the establishment of an appointment procedure.

Mr. Duckart said that having his wife on the Board would not create a ‘voting block.’

  “Husbands and wives have disagreements, and I have no issue with voting a different way than my wife,” he said in an interview.

“I know the stigma, but for us, its not true,” he added.

Mrs. Duckart previously applied for a vacant trustee seat in 2021 when an interview process was used select an appointment.

The debate over how to fill the vacancy illustrates a division on the board that Hebein inherited when he was elected to succeed longtime President Barb Dickmann, who retired from public office in April.

Hebein, who aligned himself with Dickmann in his bid for president, was challenged by Seitz,  who has been critical of Dickmann’s leadership.

Seitz has accused Dickmann of withholding information from trustees and ran  unsuccessfully against her for president in 2021.

But during an interview this week, Seitz said he is hopeful for the village under Hebein’s leadership.

“He’s more polished than me and he will be a good president,” Seitz said.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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