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Next step in the La Crosse mayor's ethics investigation: The penalty phase. Last week, the city's ethics board found mayor Matt Harter had, in fact, used his position to try and gain special privileges for his family's garbage hauling business through meetings with the county solid waste director. Although not required to do so, the board recommended no punishment for the mayor, saying that the mayor will go through enough public reprimand after the release of the findings of the investigation. Coming up, the city council's judiciary and administration will decide if a penalty hearing is needed. If so, a hearing would be held in front of the city council. It's the council that will determine punishment. Could mean removal from office.
For the second time in three years, organizers of the Deke Slayton Airfest have decided to take a summer off.
The aviation festival was planned for this May at the La Crosse Airport, but Airfest spokesman Ron Schmal says their plans have to take a back seat to runway construction.
The weekend chosen for the Airfest this year was the only weekend that the Blue Angels squad was available to come to La Crosse in 2011. The Airfest also was called off in 2009, partly because a precision flying team could not be booked for the festival.
Yes, he violated part of the city's ethics code. No, he shouldn't be punished for it. That's the conclusion of La Crosse's ethics board in response to a complaint filed against mayor Matt Harter. The board says there's clear and convincing evidence that the Mayor tried to use his position to help benefit his family's business, Harter's Quick Clean-up. That evidence, the board says, comes from two meetings with the county's solid waste director, the last one with Harter's father. The ethics board says it was that last meeting that was their primary evidence that he crossed ethical lines. Although the board is not required to propose punishment, members say the public ridicule and scrutiny Harter has faced so far should be considered punishment enough. The board does, however, recommend that Harter maybe take some classes on ethics.
There's long term employees and then there's guys like John Burnett. After forty years in the Onalaska school district, Burnett calls it quits this June, retiring as the district's superintendent, a job he's held since 1996. Burnett started out in Onalaska as a social studies teacher in 1971. Burnett made his retirement announcement this morning.