The same Kenosha Parks Committee that attempted to erect a memorial and plant a tree for Anthony Huber, a dangerous and violent criminal killed by Kyle Rittenhouse, is it again. Kenosha Parks Committee Chairman Eric Haugaard (D) and his colleagues want to do something illegal and unethical. That is probably why they will try to vote on the measure during a special meeting that is different than it’s usual time and day. This is exactly what they tried with the Huber Memorial. I was tipped off about that meeting and was tipped off about this one. On Monday, December 5, 2022 at 6:50pm, the Parks Committee is scheduled to meet with just one item on the agenda. This item, if voted affirmatively, will give the retiring parks superintendent a “Washington Park Municipal Golf Course Lifetime Membership.”
There are many reasons why they should vote “NO”
- It is illegal for the retiring employee to accept the gift and illegal for the committee to give it. Chapter 30 of the Kenosha Ordinances says that no city employee or former city employee may accept any gift which is related to city service or employment, which equals or is in excess of fifty ($50) dollars. This makes it illegal to accept the gift. The same chapter says that any covered person in the course of their service or employment, may not give to any person any gift, favor, unauthorized service, or thing of value which may tend to gain any undue or improper favor for them or the City. I will address the “improper favor” portion below.
- It is unprecedented. To my knowledge and to the knowledge of city officials I’ve spoken to, something like this hasn’t happened in the city’s more-than-100-year history.
- It sets a bad precedent. What’s next? Retiring police chief gets “free parking tickets for life?” The Retiring treasurer gets “free property taxes for life?” The city clerk gets “free dog and cat licenses for life?” See how this could get crazy?
This isn’t $1,000,000-in-a-briefcase level corruption, but all of theses little things viewed in their totality can look very bad. It shouldn’t happen.
I have no problem with the employee who is retiring. I worked with him for four years as Alderman and he worked very hard for the City. Our parks look beautiful, but we must also look to the motive for Haugaard giving this employee a gift that could be worth a thousand dollars or more.
Haugaard lives on 5th Avenue in the City of Kenosha overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan. It’s public record. This employee helped Haugaard behind the scenes keep Kennedy drive closed at 7pm when all other City parks close at 10pm. Haugaard advocated for the drive to be torn up also. Why? Most of us think Haugaard wants an un-impeded view of the lake. Who wouldn’t? Haugaard has a history of using his position with the City to benefit himself. He wanted to build a very tall garage, but it was illegal. He purposed a change to the ordinance with five of his friends co-sponsoring the ordinance change. A couple of days after the change passed, he applied for a permit to build the garage that was now legal.
There are better, legal and ethical ways for the City to honor this employee. Name the golf course after him? Put his name on a plaque? Put his photo on the score cards?
This isn’t a good idea. This committee should just say “NO”