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Plan to reduce size of council again put on the shelf

But alderman still wants referendum

Oct. 7, 2009

Call it the issue that won't die.

Even though the Wauwatosa Common Council voted not to move forward with a plan to reduce its size from 16 to 10 members, at least one alderman doesn't plan to let the issue go.

Alderman Dennis McBride told his fellow council members that if they voted to place the issue on file - which happened Tuesday on an 11-4 vote - he would bring forth a request to put it to referendum on the April ballot.

He said the issue has been brought up by councils for years without resolution, so it's time to find out how the residents feel about it.

"The fact that it keeps coming up suggests it's an idea that won't go away," he said.

Alderwoman Linda Nikcevich said she would like to see a committee created to determine what the actual job responsibilities are for council members and what the public wants from their representatives.

She said having two representatives confuses many residents. But Alderman Michael Walsh disagreed and called the relationship "a collaboration" that only benefits residents.

He added that he did not see the need for a referendum because the council held a public hearing on the issue during which only four former aldermen spoke against making changes.

For Alderman James Krol, it is time to move onto other issues such as economic development and the city budget.

"We have a lot of hot issues to deal with, so I don't think this is the time for this," he said.

After much debate, Mayor Jill Didier suggested referring the issue to a council committee to determine what it would entail to hold a referendum and discuss the wording of a referendum question. However, that motion failed on a 9-6 vote.

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