Former member criticizes redrawn Memorial Day panel

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – One village resident was unhappy with the Memorial Day Committee appointed by the village earlier this month and she let the board know Tuesday.

Marcia Schamberger vented her dissatisfaction during the public comment section of the meeting.

The committee approved by the board at their Jan. 30 meeting included Village President Alan Rudnick, Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly, Ron Nielsen, Gary Koegler and Randy Suemnicht.

Schamberger, who noted that she was “one of two founding members of the Memorial Tribute Program,” accused the board of overstepping their authority and usurping the Lions Club, which has sponsored the annual event in Memorial Park since 2003.

She accused Rudnick of intimidation and bullying following her remarks at the close of last year’s ceremony.

Rudnick and the trustees were not able to respond to Schamberger’s remarks during the meeting, but the village president did make a statement after the meeting.

“It’s a village committee and it’s a village park. That comes under the Village Board’s jurisdiction. I stand by my decision,” Rudnick stated.

Schamberger concluded the 2014 celebration with remarks that included a number of comments on the situation with veterans’ care and the Veterans Administration.

Her remarks drew criticism from some of those in attendance as being partisan in nature and inappropriate, which Schamberger denied in her statement to the board.

“I was not singling out any partisan group or persons responsible for the VA dysfunction or our federal government’s treatment of our veterans,” Schamberger told the board. “I was clearly defending our veterans and their need for care, proper treatment, respect and our collective responsibility as the beneficiaries of their great sacrifice.

“My remarks clearly stated the concerns I had and have, for the treatment of veterans, without endorsement of any particular partisan position.”

Schamberger accused the village of attempting to “censure the Elkhart Lake Lions … simply because Mr. Rudnick chose to object to a speech I gave as an individual citizen clearly stating my concerns and call for support.”

She suggested that, “If there is a concern regarding the potential content of a speaker’s statements, instead of restructuring another organization’s committee, the Village Board may request the Lions to include a simple disclaimer in the printed program stating, ‘the thoughts and positions of the speakers do not necessarily represent the position of the village of Elkhart Lake and are the sole thoughts and opinions of the speaker.’”

The board heard annual reports from Public Works Director Richard Solek and Police Chief Michael Meeusen for their departments.

Meeusen noted that the meeting room in the Grashorn Municipal Building has been set up to serve as an emergency operations center for the village and the town of Rhine. Facilities are available there for all village departments – police, fire, clerk, First Responders and others – in case of an emergency.

Rudnick reported that the Joint Fire Station Committee has decided that, after the town of Rhine buys their next fire truck, all future truck purchases will be joint between the village and the town.

“In 30 or 40 years, all our trucks should be jointly owned,” Rudnick said.

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