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The Mount Pleasant Village Board failed to break its self-imposed gridlock.

Two candidates for the open Mount Pleasant village trustee were floated Monday night, but both failed to garner the nomination. The current six member board voted 3 to 3, with the vote splitting along established factions on the board.

Village president Dave Degroot tried again to get John Kis, an executive with Tri City National Bank, on to the board. After some deliberation, it failed. Trustees Gary Feest, Jon Hansen, and Ken Ottwaska voted against the motion. Degroot, Hewitt and Trustee Sonny Havn voted for it.

Hansen then nominated Dale Steger, a Mount Pleasant resident who ran for village trustee in the latest election. It too failed to pass, except with the votes in the affirmative and negative reversing.

Before the issue came before the board, a number of village residents came forward and asked the board to fill the seat with Kis. Former spring election candidates Steger and John Martini also proffered themselves for the seat. After the public comment section, attorney Christopher Geary — who was retained by the village for this — told the board that Kis joining the board would not be as unusual as some thought it would.

“I can’t see where there would be any sort of structural conflict of interest,” he said.

Otwaska maintained that he didn’t feel comfortable bringing someone on to the board when he doesn’t know what their agenda would be. He too offered up Steger and Martini, saying he knew where they stood because they campaigned.

“My problem with John [Kis], is I don’t know where he stands,” Ottwaska said.

Feest also objected to DeGroot’s unilateral halting of the process to find a new village administrator.

“Right now, I have a heck of a lot of questions as to what’s been going on around here since the new village president was elected,” Feest said.

Feest said he would rather the board remain at six until members of the village board can “settle down for a month or two.”

DeGroot told the village board that he thinks he has a mandate to appoint the trustee for that seat because he won both the presidency and his trustee seat in the last election, and added that he won’t vote for a candidate he hasn’t appointed.

“It frankly is about the president’s decision to appoint somebody and be confirmed by the board,” he said. “In as much as I think Mr. Steger is a nice guy, he’s not my person to put on the board, so I am going to recommend against it and I will vote accordingly.”

Degroot told the Racine County Eye that he plans to continue to put Kis up as his pick for trustee.

“Again it’s the presidential privelige make appointment to board,” he said.

Not having the position filled may impact how the Village’s business gets done. But it also has a more detrimental effect at the Committee level.

“Much of our work gets done at the committee level,” Degrood said. “There are committees that I want Kis to be on: Finance, and Legislative and License. Our budgets are coming up pretty quick and this is stuff he certainly has insight about.”

Degroot also wants Kis to be part of the Community Development Authority because it serves as the community’s face for future development projects that get brokered through the Racine County Economic Development Coporation.

“Kis has had a long-time relationship with RCEDC,” Degroot said. “He’s a deal making kind of guy, not to mention is financial accument and that’s just good for the Village.”




Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.