Tonight, the Kenosha County Finance and Administration committee voted to affirm the double demotion of Kenosha Sergeant Bill Beth, little cousin of Sheriff David Beth, for misconduct. That wasn’t the topic of conversation, however. We wrote an article this morning titled County Committee Expected to Uphold Demotion of Sheriff’s Sergeant At Tonight’s Meeting: Sources. We saw the writing on the wall and we heard from confidential sources that told us Beth’s demotion was expected to be affirmed. Supervisors Jeff Gentz (D), Monica Yuhas (D), Jeff Wamboldt (WamBOLDt) (D), Ron Frederick (D), Ed Kubicki (D) and a few other democrats are upset. Gentz began a profanity-laced monologue that contained several loud bangs against the desk with his fist. “There is a leak in this room!”. Gentz called for the FBI to “independently investigate” the County to check for leaks. Several people in the audience let out slight chuckles. “I want subpoenas issued to the Kenosha County Eye to ask them who their sources are!” he wildly exclaimed. The majority of the committee members voted to conduct the investigation as Gentz had requested. This vote was likely illegal as decisions of committees must be noticed ahead of time to give people a chance to speak against something like this. It is likely many taxpayers will oppose a measure that will likely cost many thousands of dollars and it is proposed for political reasons.
What Gentz does not know but probably should read up on is Wisconsin Statute 885.14. This statute is known as the “Shield Act” or “reporter privilege.” It provides journalists with an absolute privilege to withhold confidential source information and a qualified privilege to protect other news gathering information.
Ironically, Supervisor Ron Frederick said in open session that “the vote was 6 to 1.” This was information ostensibly talked about in closed session. He said this in violation of the ethics ordinance. Gentz also broke the ethics rules by acknowledging in open session that our (KCE’s) prediction was correct – this was an admission in and of itself of what was talked about in closed session.
Gentz and some of his colleagues don’t like the KCE. Gentz takes issue with us placing the (D) after his name signifying that he is a democrat. He was heard complaining about that extensively. He wants to be seen as “non-partisan.”
Gentz and some of his colleagues want the public to be in the dark about county government. Remember, they voted to close the hearings to the public – every member of the committee except Terry Rose. When we tell you what you deserve to know, they get upset. Gentz wants to spend a great deal of tax-dollars on a sham investigation to intimidate us. It won’t work.
This isn’t about a leak, this is about Jeff Gentz and his fellow opponents-of-transparency throwing a tantrum when we tell you about all the stupid things they do. That’s it. As for the “leaks,” we will tell you two things.
- The Kenosha County Eye was NOT given any privileged information from any elected officials that was discussed in closed session.
- We always have and always will keep our confidential sources confidential. PERIOD
Mr. Gentz, go ahead and send us a subpoena. If there is another TP shortage, we will save it to remove the crap from our butts.