Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Tolar appointed to fill term

by Chris Schultz

May 31, 2012

Don Tolar will replace Terry O'Neill on the city council.

Tolar, who was the incumbent O'Neill defeated in 2011 for District Four alderman, was the only person to apply for the position.

O'Neill resigned from the city council after a committee of the whole meeting on May 7.

Tolar, of 1365 Edgewood Drive, who was 83 during the 2011 election, is a retired electrician. He's served on the zoning board of appeals, the plan commission; was on the Star Center School Board for 10 years and served as a Lake Geneva alderman for six years.

Mayor Jim Connors recommended Tolar to the council's finance, license and regulation committee; the piers, harbors and lakefront committee, and the board of review.

Alderman Jeff Wall was recommended for the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency Board, replacing O'Neill, and Alderwoman Sarah Hill is to replace O'Neill on the communications committee.

Tolar was not at the meeting.

O'Neill was.

During public comment, now-private-citizen O'Neill asked the council to reconsider its repeal of the city's beach testing ordinance.

The city council recently repealed the ordinance in favor of a beach testing policy that allows the city to use testing labs closer than the State Laboratory of Hygiene in Madison.

In an e-mail released last week, O'Neill alleged that City Administrator Dennis Jordan had neglected his duties the week of July 11, 2011, when he failed to close the beach after water samples taken earlier in the week showed E.coli bacteria levels twice that requiring beach closure for public safety.

Jordan has explained that the tests came back several days after the samples were taken at the beach. He said he consulted Ted Peters, director of the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency, who takes the weekly tests, before deciding to let the beach stay open the following week.

Peters has said that bacteria counts fluctuate during a week, and the abnormally high E.coli readings that week, the highest ever recorded at the beach, may have been the result of samples contaminated from an outside source.

O'Neill returned to the theme of the city not closing the beaches that weekend, He argued that the ordinance gives the city authority to prosecute a public official who was derelict in his duty.

He got as far as saying: "Mr. Jordan " when Mayor Jim Connors cut him off.

"The beach testing ordinance is not on the agenda," Connors said.

O'Neill protested that he was being cut off on the issue. But he then went on to ask the council to delay its vote on the city audit because the document was not posted on the city website until about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The city council did approve the audit, but also approved a resolution that next year the audit will be posted on the website at least a week before it is before the council for approval.

See the print edition of the Regional News for more on the Lake Geneva City Council.