Brief

Mount Pleasant Village Board repeals change to longer terms after referendum campaign

By: - March 30, 2022 10:10 am

At a Jan. 24 meeting, the Mount Pleasant Village Board voted to extend its term lengths from two years to three. Monday the board repealed the change. (Screenshot | Village of Mount Pleasant)

A controversial change in board terms for the Racine County village of Mount Pleasant is off the table after a citizens group campaigned for a referendum on the matter.

The Mount Pleasant Village Board voted Monday night to repeal its ordinance changing the board to three-year terms rather than draft a referendum for residents to vote on the change. The board will retain its current two-year terms instead. 

The seven-member board originally voted in January to switch to three-year terms, starting in 2023. Village Board President Dave DeGroot said at that meeting the change would provide “a more stable, managed board.”

But a citizens group criticized the change, charging that it was undertaken stealthily, and tied it to the board’s support of the Foxconn development project, which has fallen short of its original projections. The group, A Better Mount Pleasant, gathered signatures for a petition to force a referendum on the change in terms.

“They did it strictly for political reasons, which is what made it so easy to collect all the signatures we needed,” Kelly Gallaher, who helped organize the petition drive, told the Wisconsin Examiner when the petitions were submitted to the board.

In a statement issued after Monday’s repeal vote, Gallaher said of the board, “Instead of including residents in this decision, they did the right thing only after they saw they had lost.”

Under the current terms, four board seats are up for election in one year and three the next year, which makes it possible for a majority of the board to be replaced in a single election. 

The proposed change would have staggered the three-year terms so that no single election could replace a majority of members.

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.

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