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Village Of Salem Lakes Denies KCE Request For Firefighters’ Letters Of Resignation: We’re Going To Court

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Salem Lakes VIllage Attorney Rich Scholze
Law Firm of Wanasek, Scholze, Ludwig, Eles & Gorn, S.C.
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Opinion by Kenosha County Eye Editor, Kevin Mathewson:

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Kenosha County Eye has been very interested in behavior from elected officials and other employees of the Village of Salem Lakes. Most of the tips we’ve received have proven to be true. One such tip, is that the embattled Fire Chief, Jim Lejcar has been such a terrible leader, that many quality firefighters have resigned in the last year. Of course, before reporting on this, we started a fact-finding investigation. On January 28, 2023, we asked the Village of Salem Lakes for the resignation and/or termination letters from the fire department for the last three years. After slow-playing the request for almost a month, Village Clerk Shannon Hahn denied our request today. She cited a statute that has nothing to do with our request.

A Village Clerk like Shannon, likely consulted with the Village’s Attorney, Rich Scholze before making this determination, especially becuase we’ve never lost a public records lawsuit. In fact, we’ve won over eleven lawsuits and administrative appeals in Illinois and Wisconsin. This denial is especially laughable because the Village has provided KCE with a letter of resignation on January 20, 2023, just over a week before this request. Here is the resignation letter that Hahn provided to us:

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Resignation letter of Salem Lakes Zoning and Land Use Administrator

I called Rich Scholze at his law firm to try to talk some reason into him. He immediately hung up on me. This is not the type of behavior we should expect from a lawyer that represents government agencies.

Salem Lakes Fire Chief James Lejcar
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

I emailed Schoze and all of his partners today. I told them what Rich was doing. I gave the village until Thursday night at 5pm to reconsider the denial. If not, I will be filing a lawsuit this Friday, February 24, 2023 in Kenosha County Circuit Court. I’ve won a lot of slam-dunk cases, and believe me when I say, this one is the biggest slam dunk. That leads me to be extremely suspicious about why the Village of Salem Lakes doesn’t want the public to know about the failed leadership of the new Fire Chief. Then I remembered, there is an election tomorrow. With a government agency that is as non-transparent as Salem Lakes, they likely know they will lose this lawsuit and the taxpayers will have to foot the bill for my attorneys’ fees and costs. They are willing to spend the hard-working tax-dollars of the Salem Lakes taxpayers for political gain.

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21 Responses

  1. This isn’t making a lot of sense. If you wanted records of the Twin Lakes Police Dept. you’d ask the chief, not the village clerk. How is this different? Does she even have the letters? And if she doesn’t, why a month to answer what could have been done in a day — or less?

  2. Of course he is going to hang up on you….lawyers get paid even if they lose, too. He’d love for you to take them to court.

  3. Only if you knew the reasons why he’s a terrible leader and people are leaving. It’s scary… there is no one to cover the village at times because no one wants to work for him

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  4. He is a terrible leader, none of the firefighters in Salem Lakes stand with Chief James Lejcar. He has little to no respect for his men and women. Don’t forget that fact that he has anger issues and likes to yell like a toddler and won’t step up and own his mistakes. Countless firefighters have sent letters in complaint of Chief Lejcar. This is said from a someone who has worked under Lejcar. Lejcar is ruining the reputation and name for SLFR, his men and women are embarrassed to be lead by such a failure.

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  5. He is the worst thing that could have happened to that dept. mike Slover built that place so high, just for him to crumble it. People used to come from home and enjoyed being at the station. Now, no one. Everyone is scared to go to work. The absolute disrespect and abuse of power he has. Hell! Even the secretary can’t sleep at night and has constant panic attacks. It’s that bad. Ever hear a Fire Chief make racist comments on a scene in front of the public… yup that happened. Just know when you lay down your head at night, you might not have the proper connection you think you are getting.

  6. Is anybody in charge of this Village? I think there is seven board members, why no leadership. These stories about this Village seem unbelievable, hopefully their election can find leadership, they clearly need it. They must have a lot of uninformed taxpayers. It is amazing that these Villages protect employees and board members that should be doing something else, who the hell would want to work for a Village with this BS going on. Probably why they are abandoning ship. Another reason for some kind of term limits, helps protect the taxpayer from chaos. Also sounds like the citizens in that community better invest in a private fire department, or possibly new personnel before nobody is left.

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    1. It’s not the personal on the fire department, it’s the chief making bad word for everyone. The fire department staff does not stand with the chief and wants no part of the bad name he has brought to SLFR. The community needs to understand the men and women on the line do not agree with the leadership. Members have tried to get Lejcar out of there, but he’s doing something for the hire ups so they are doing something for him.. it’s truly sad

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    1. Hey mister Anonymous, if you said “Countless firefighters have sent letters in complaint of Chief Lejcar”, then get them sent to the Fire Commision. They would love to see them.

      1. I hope that you realize that the fire commission is the one that hired him and so there jeopardises their presence in the department. The fire commission should be wondering about their monthly reviews of the work of the chief and looking at the big picture with each resignation and again whenever the Chief puts out a posting for new hires. The village does not need short term hires of full timers and then to pay for pensioninsurance forever. We need a chief that will build professionalism like Chief Slover did for many years. Somewhere along the line the fire commission missed out on the leadership aspect that Slover had in their criteria for a great candidate for the job. I have read the comments on this and the other threads. No one needs to have a boss yelling in their face and if the issue with the employee is that very bad, then Wisc is an “at will state” and the person should be fired, not insulted. And it would be up to the chief to write the person up and those shold be of interest to the commission. Every employee should be able to contest what was written up on them and to contest it. If the commission is really working, they would be investigating this on the mere mention of an issue, mere hint of a problem, mere whisper of degrading the greatest local department by any news outlet.

        Time for someone to ask for the roster for all locations of the last 10 years, and must include Fire, Rescue, EMS for those of the time as the Town, the Village of Silver Lake and Salem Lakes. Chief Slover should have had it, would have had it, so the present Chief should have it still.

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  7. anyone that works in the western counties. As a firefighter or emt , knows about this guy, even the private ambulance services in the western part knows about this guy , He needs to be gone ,We need to clean house with these tyrants.

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  8. It’s a shame that someone like Kevin Mathewson can spread this kind of misinformation for his own personal gain. Just because you see it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s truth.

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  9. I believe that the larger picture needs to be looked at. Take a look at the top. Murdock is a poor leader at best and an outright criminal at worst. Poor and unethical behavior starts with him. If a resignation letter isn’t accepted, it’s because of him. I pray each day that Walworth County Sheriff does a complete and thorough investigation and finds all that Murdock has done. He has harmed good people and needs to be held accountable for his actions.

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    1. Murdock is the problem. He does what he wants. Hires people that kiss his ass. And intimidates the ones that don’t. He drives around in his village truck chasing fire calls and leaning against his truck smoking cigarettes the whole time. He does little to nothing as an administrator. Clean house from the top and watch a major change. The sooner he is gone and the fire chief and the director of public works as well as this board the sooner this village will run smoother with a lot less corruption.

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  10. The poor leader is the village administrator who is also a fire battalion chief. How is that ok or ethical? And that was in place before Lejcar became chief. Murdock is known to yell and scream swear words and racial slurs in his fellow fire fighters face. Is that what we call brotherhood? Or is it pure bullying, threatening, fear based leadership?

  11. Its been a running joke at how many people have resigned or quit. We stopped counting at 20 in 4 months. Most if not all left letter of resignations. One left with a 2 hour screaming match with James Lejcar and the employee. James lejcar is the front man but their fire marshall Steve Ptinski is jist as bad. He has no leadeeship skills and was appointed against union wishes. In fact the union wasnt even told. Salem lakes is literally falling apart..slover left a shit pile and now all of our equipment is broken or out dated and unsafe. We barely have staffing. God help our resodents that call 911. The department needs more money. Fireifghter paramedics go tp school for 3 years and get paid nothing. That “EMT” responding to your 911 call is brand new. Our residents deswrve the best but king james lejcar and king steve ptimski care more about power than this department. Firefighters are proud of there station and equipment. But if you the public or FPC would stop by the wouldnt be allowed to talk to the firemen and would be lied to. Get rid of steve ptinski ,.get rid of james lejcar and restructure the department. We are no longer a volumteer department, we run too many calls, we are a combination fulltime/ part time. We need 7 to 9 staff per day. Some days we are lucky to get 2 or 3. We have 4 stations and yet can only staff 1. If you live on the border be prepared to wait 20 minutes for and ambukance.

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