I hope you had a less stressful Thanksgiving this year! We could all use less stress during this time. Things are somewhat quiet at City Hall due to the holidays but here is an update on what's happening this month. The image to the right is from the We're in This Together video produced by Monona Community Media. You're sure to see someone you know!
HIRING A NEW POLICE CHIEF
The City has contracted with a recruiting firm for the hire of our new police chief. GovHR has begun their work and will conduct a national search. By statute, the Police & Fire Commission (PFC) will lead the hiring for this position. This commission, by law, is made up entirely of residents and handles the hiring and disciplinary actions of our police and fire staff. The process is expected to take about 12 weeks.
Earlier this year, the PFC hired our new Fire Chief, Jeremy McMullen. If you've not yet had a chance to meet him, he'd love for you to stop by the fire station and say hello! I had the pleasure of partnering with Fire Chief McMullen on November 7th for my bike donation drive on November 7th. Chief McMullen is settled in and has already started finding ways to save the department money and has found new revenue sources for the department.
I attended the PFC meeting this week and the committee discussed starting the process with a survey to stakeholders for input. They are committed to transparency and including the public in this important process. At the last City Council meeting, I asked if GovHR and Nehemiah could collaborate for a public listening session and that idea has been embraced by everyone involved. I'll be sure to update you when that session date has been scheduled.
MONONA FIRE DEPARTMENT VIRTUAL FILL THE BOOT CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISER
Our local department is proud to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association and their families year round. In years past, you’ve probably seen the firemen at the intersection of Monona Drive and Broadway trying to fill the boots with donations. This year, you can support them by clicking on the link below for the Virtual Fill The Boot to make a donation and help continue MDA’s mission in the fight to end Muscle Disease.
The Monona Volunteer Fire Department Association is will match the first $1,000 in donations starting today, And thanks to the generosity from Boucher Automotive Group, every donation from today until the end of the year will be DOUBLED up to $30,000! Combine that and you could easily triple your own contribution!
Go to FACEBOOK to help make a difference if you can!
IF YOU LOVE IT, LOCK IT
Once again, we're hearing reports of car break-ins so this is another reminder that if you love it, lock it! If you can, try to park in well lit areas, be sure to take everything of value out of car (or out of sight), and most importantly, lock your vehicles and bicycles when not in use. It's also important to remove your garage door opener from your vehicle in case it is broken into. You do not want people having easy access to your home.
OFFICER EXONERATED IN ELLIOT JOHNSON DEATH
On September 17th, a Monona Police officer pursued a vehicle on the south end of Monona. The car being pursued was driven by Elliot Johnson. Ultimately, Elliot lost his life that day. The Division of Criminal Investigation has closed their investigation of the incident and the camera footage (dash & body) has been released. DCI found that none of the Monona Officers fired a weapon and the officer was exonerated of any wrongdoing.
As you know, I'm a strong believer in transparency and communication. This video is publicly available on YouTube. You can watch the footage and make your own determination on this unfortunate set of events. I do wish we could have shared this with you earlier to reduce stress on our officers, to save lost time and resources of the protests as a result of rumors on social media, and to provide some closure for the family. **Please note that this video involves the loss of a life and a family lost a loved one. The graphic elements have been blacked out.
RUNNING FOR LOCAL OFFICE
If you're thinking about running for local office, now is the time to start! MG School Board and City Council both have three seats open. Monona's mayoral seat will also be up for re-election. School Board candidates will collect packets from Nichols School and City candidates will collect candidate packets from City Hall. Papers and signatures must be filed by January 5. The election is on April 6, 2021.
LANDMARKS COMMISSION TRIES AGAIN WITH MG SCHOOL BOARD
You may have seen in the Herald-Independent, that the MG School Board had a split vote on the district moving forward with having Nichols School and Winnequah School included on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, staff and the Landmarks Commission was only given a few hours notice that the topic would be on the agenda so we did not have time to send representation to the meeting.
The school district has not embarked on this initiative before so there was a bit of misinformation provided at the meeting. We are on their agenda again this week and will have representation there that will be able to provide accurate responses to questions and comments. As public buildings, the Commission could move forward with including the buildings on the register without permission. But we would like to have the support of the school board however before we move forward with this exciting opportunity for Monona.
SANTA IS IN TOWN!
Santa Claus is coming to town! Monona Parks & Rec is booking photo sessions now. On December 12th, from 9am to 12pm, Saint Nick will be sitting atop the vintage Monona fire truck at the Winnequah Park gazebo creating a beautiful photo backdrop.
The cost is $15 and includes a 3-minute photoshoot session with Santa and Mrs. Claus. You may sign up for additional poses. Sessions are grouped at 9am, 10am and 11am. Click here to sign up or learn more.
WHO'S READY TO ICE SKATE?!
The City's new ice skating rink opened on November 25th. While I realize not all of us are in a position to pay for entertainment options right now, please come out and support the rink this year if you can afford a fun family outing.
As Monona taxpayers, we are the owners of this rink and it would be great to see the rink get to a financial break even point. But, to do that we need skaters! There are new guidelines this year due to the pandemic but this is a nice outdoor recreation option right in your backyard.
Please note that advance online bookings are required to enjoy the rink. You can reserve your time slot here. Happy skating!
If you're looking for more ideas to keep you busy for the winter, this Active Living Playbook for Wisconsin is a great resource!