Alder Walks Out Of Meeting

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MTT News Desk's picture
By: 
Matt Geiger

Ald. Jim Wexler (Dist. 4) walked out of Tuesday night’s Middleton Finance Committee meeting after losing his chairmanship, choosing not to return for the Middleton Common Council meeting that followed. It was the first time he missed a regular meeting of the common council in more than two decades.

The finance committee voted to make District 8 Ald. Mark Sullivan, a Certified Public Accountant, its new chairman.

Wexler said he was dismayed by the committee’s “lack of integrity,” calling District 5 Ald. Howard Teal, who nominated Sullivan, a “bully” for his handling of the process.

Wexler said Teal worked behind the scenes to oust him from the seat at the head of the finance committee in retaliation for Wexler’s support of Ald. Susan West (Dist. 6), who was voted president of the common council in April. West replaced Teal, who had served as council president for five years.

“There’s a history here,” said Wexler from his home on Tuesday night. Wexler lost his seat as president of the Middleton Common Council to Teal five years ago. He later was replaced as chairman of the plan commission.

“The last real position of authority I had was this,” Wexler said.

Teal said he was considering Sullivan for the chairmanship long before West was voted president of the common council. “I’ve been contemplating it for several years,” he said. “Mark has a business and accounting background and he understands the management of money and the language of finance.”

Teal said he “won’t dwell on” Wexler’s accusations. “I did this for one reason,” he said. “To change the management of the finance committee and hopefully do a better job.”

The vote to make Sullivan chairman was 2-1-1. Wexler cast the lone “nay” vote. West, who tried unsuccessfully to delay the decision, abstained.

“I agreed the decision needed to be made tonight,” Wexler said. “If they wanted to stab me in the back, they should just go ahead and do it.”

Sullivan declined to comment on the controversy. “I appreciate the opportunity to be chair[man],” he said. “Hopefully I can help us stay on track and be good stewards of citizens’ tax dollars.”

An anonymous source close to the situation said several city leaders hoped to replace Wexler, who has struggled with financial woes in his private life, with someone more qualified at the head of the finance committee.

“If I had been running the meetings poorly I would understand,” Wexler said. “But I wasn’t. You don’t have to be an accountant to chair the finance committee.”

 

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