May 25, 2017
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NOW: 53°
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Recall election of entire Paris Town Board to be Nov. 22

Challengers face a Tuesdayafternoon filing deadline


BY TERRY FLORES
tflores@kenoshanews.com

PARIS — A recall election of the entire Paris Town Board will go forward next month.

The Town Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to certify that petitions filed in August were sufficient in seeking to recall Town Board Chairman Virgil Gentz and supervisors Ronald Kammerzelt and Kenneth Monson.

The recall election, in accordance with statute, will take place Nov. 22.

Town residents interested in running for board positions can pick up nomination documents at the Town Hall, 16607 Burlington Road, and can begin circulating papers immediately. They have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to submit their papers

The board’s decision comes five days after the Wisconsin Elections Commission ruled that Town Clerk Beverly McCumber acted contrary to state laws when she initially denied the recall petitions filed by resident Joe Kolnik.

Kolnik, who has always maintained he properly gathered the signatures, is among at least three people who will likely be challenging the incumbents. Other candidates will likely include Robert Fliess and Paul Terry. They could not be reached for comment.

Kolnik’s battle against the Town Board stems from a contentious intergovernmental agreement that would have transferred land in Paris to the village of Somers for commercial and economic development along the Interstate 94 corridor. The petitioners claim the supervisors signed the agreement against the instruction of many town residents and did not provide them with an opportunity to vote before signing it.

The agreement has since been withdrawn in favor of advancing a new pact that includes the town, the village, Kenosha and its water utility.

McCumber had initially denied the petitions after determining those who signed it were presented with “misleading and untrue” statements. The Elections Commission, however, found that she improperly inserted her own belief that the statement of recall was misleading and that “it could have improperly induced someone to sign the petition.”

The commission said the records submitted by the town contained no evidence that anyone was misled or induced to sign the petition based on not understanding it.

Following Wednesday night’s vote, Kammerzelt said that, in light of the recall election, he welcomed a debate of from challengers. He asked that a debate be scheduled sometime before the recall election “for any of the nominees.”

“I think the job of the Town Board is to look to the future and not just the present. And that’s what this board is trying to do,” Kammerzelt said. “I’m proud of the board.”

Gentz said he believes the board has done a “very good job” for many years for the town. He added that he and the two supervisors were going to work hard to be re-elected.

While the board approved certification of the petitions, McCumber did not comment on them.

Monson, however, maintains the petitioners were wrong and that’s why the board fought it.

“The process was vetted and the decision was made to have a recall election. That’s obviously their right, and now we’ll see what happens,” he said.


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