What did the city council know and when did they know it?
That was the question one sleuthful citizen had after doing a little amateur detective work on some government documents.
“I’m here again to urge the council to reject all of the bids related to the Wyldhaven Park project,” a flannel-clad man informed the crowd. “The deck is a detriment to the park and serves no practical purpose.”
“I also have serious concerns regarding procedure. According to meeting minutes–” he continued, hoisting a sheaf of papers in the air as the smoking gun, “there was a committee discussion of a plan for Wyldhaven Park on October 6, 2015. That plan had no deck in it.”
The plot was thick with intrigue. A deck had appeared out of nowhere. What’s next? A swing? Wind chimes? A grill and some hot dogs? The precedent was dangerous.
“A number of people I’ve talked to were surprised to hear that there’s gonna be a deck. They said, ‘really? Like, a deck?’” the man recalled, albeit with zero ounce of surprise in his delivery.
“Where did all this detail, including deck, come from? Certainly not in the committee meeting minutes.” He paused before delivering the verdict. “My opinion on this is that the committee must’ve acted on its own!”
Aha! And how did Mayor Mary O’Connor then attempt to shut down the investigation and suppress further testimony?
“If anyone else is here to speak about the Wyldhaven Park project or would like to register, there’s a slip over there to fill out,” she indicated politely.
“We have a deck. We love it,” smiled the next commenter. “The location of the Wyldhaven Park observation deck is one with a spectacular view. You have beautiful sunsets. You have the super moon.”
Having heard from both sides, the mayor wheeled around to a staff member.
“So that was in the minutes?”
“It’s in the packet,” the employee clarified. “And we approve or recommend approval of all the projects as a whole. Not each individual project.”
Alderperson Doug Wood made it crystal clear that nothing nefarious was afoot. “I think this did go through the normal process, if not maybe a little more so than most capital projects?”
Well, so much for the secret society theory. Apparently the deck was simply a victim of insufficient bullet-pointing.
But if you thought the council was done with deck-related problems, they weren’t in the clear yet.
“I will move approval but with the requirement that video surveillance be installed,” Alderperson Wood piped up as the council was about to approve an alcohol permit for a Mexican restaurant’s patio.
After several minutes of wrangling, Alderperson Brian Holmquist finally inquired, “Do all our other patios require that you have surveillance?”
The answer was yes–clearing the deck (as it were) for a council thumbs-up.
Mayor O’Connor waited until the end of the meeting to air a concern she had been pondering.
“One thing I wondered about: if we want to think about having–” she paused and stared up at the ceiling. “I hate to even bring this up but the way the world is today, some active shooter training for the council might not be a bad idea.”
She indicated to either side of the room. “Frankly, sitting here and seeing these doors, I think it might be a good idea if anybody’s interested.”
Yikes. I guess if Monona keeps having deck problems, it couldn’t hurt.
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