Furrer breaks tie to remove Gau from police panel

Bersche replaces Gau

Richard Gau

Richard Gau

By Gloria Lloyd

Mayor Mark Furrer broke a tie to replace Ward 1 Alderman Richard Gau on the Police Advisory Board last week.

Furrer broke the tie Aug. 11 so that Ward 2 Alderman Steve Bersche can take Gau’s seat. In the vote to replace Gau, Bersche, acting board President Tom Musich, Ward 3 Alderman Keith Kostial and Ward 4 Alderman Donna Ernst voted for Bersche, and Ward 1 Alderman Dee Baebler, Ward 3 Alderman Kurt Krueger and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Fribis voted against him.

At first, Furrer did not at first say who Bersche would replace. When Gau asked which seat it would be, Furrer said, “I was assuming aldermanic.”

After Gau and Police Board Chairman Frank Pellegrini spearheaded legislation last year that would require that the Board of Aldermen approve any dissolution of the Police Department after rumors surfaced that Furrer hoped to dissolve the department – which Furrer denies – the mayor vowed to replace the “babies on the police board.”

Furrer nominated Tom Ascheman to the police panel, but Fribis asked for the nomination to be tabled since aldermen had not received his resume.

With City Attorney Robert E. Jones conducting on-the-spot legal research to find which seats were already taken and which Bersche could replace, Baebler made a motion that all the appointments be tabled until aldermen could figure out the details and have their questions answered, but Jones noted that mayoral appointments need no motion and are automatically voted on if presented.

In response to Baebler’s concerns, Furrer said he would table Ascheman’s appointment, but told Gau, “Bersche to replace you is not a problem.”

Furrer withdrew his proposed appointment of Kathy Tripp to replace Gau on the Personnel Committee, noting she was ill and could not attend the meeting.

Aldermen approved a series of other appointments unanimously, including Harry Schillinger III to replace former Mayor Ken Vogel as the at-large consultant on the police board, reappoint Bob Althoff to the police board and appoint Roger Kaiser to the Planning and Zoning Commission to replace Kevin Studer, who voluntarily stepped down, the mayor said.

Vogel served eight years as mayor in the 1990s and served 23 years on the police board, for seven total terms.