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UPDATE: Village Board Votes To Remove Plan Commission Member

Is this a clash in personalities or principals, or both?

UPDATE: With no discussion, the Village Board voted 4 to 1 to remove Jim Morrill from the Plan Commission. Village Board Member Kathy Burton said she was hoping to have the issue discussed out in the open, but since it wasn't she could not support Morrill's removal. Jim Dobbs, a Village Trustee, abstained from voting. Initially, Jerry Griswold, a Village Trustee said he would abstain from voting because Morrill said he had "some type of vendetta against him," but once he realized there wouldn't be enough votes to remove Morrill he changed his mind.

ORIGINAL STORY: Plan Commission member has refused to resign his position when asked by the Village Board to step down.

At the request of theVillage Board, Ron Coutts, the Village President, asked Jim Morrill, a 10-year member of the Plan Commission, to leave the position last week saying that his conduct was “unprofessional.”

However, Morrill refused and said he feels his behavior isn’t the issue. Rather it’s his stance on how the Village should develop, and he wants those issues discussed in an open session meeting.

“I think I was being opinionated and standing up for what I believe,” Morrill said. “Outspoken is one thing, being unprofessional is another…. But I have no respect for that board. They believe that any development is good development if they can make 50 cents in tax money on it.”

Most recently, Morrill voiced opposition to , a trucking terminal, coming to the Village. During a joint meeting between the Plan Commission and the Village Board on June 14, Morrill told the Village Board that, “allowing Time Transport would be selling out Caledonia’s future.” While the Plan Commission had a tie vote, the Village Board preceded to .

But Kevin Wanggard, a Village Board member, said he took issue with Morrill’s conduct.

“Jim was asked how long he had been on the Plan Commission, and he said, ‘Probably too long,’” Wanggaard said. “Then when we do a vote, he gets upset, and closes his book like he wanted to take his bat and ball, and go home. When you behave like that, you are not serving the interest of the village.”

Morrill has also been vocal about keeping the Village’s 40 percent green space requirements, and sticking to the Village’s land use plan.

“I guess we’re at the point where if the Plan Commission doesn’t agree with the Board, you’re gone,” Morrill said. “Yes I said Time Transport was a horrible idea. It was a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

Tom Weatherston, a Village Board member, said he voted for the request and gave his reasons for asking Morrill to step down.

“Jim is just rude,” Weatherston said. “He mistreats the public citizens, and his comments are condescending to the public. After the last joint meeting a bunch of us on the Village Board decided that he does not represent Caledonia’s values in how he treats the public.

“His attitude is not reflective of how we want the public treated. It has nothing to do with the points he made.”

Coutts wasn’t at the Time Transport meeting, but has had his share of agreements and disagreements with Morrill. Still, the request came at the wishes of the Village Board, he said.

“I brought the Plan Commission and Village Board together on the Wal-Mart project and he disagreed with my decision,” Coutts said. “But as a Village President, I had the right to do this. We all agree and disagree, but once the votes have been taken, let’s go forward.”

Click here to read Jim Morrill's letter about his decision not to resign.

m d August 30, 2011 at 09:32 PM
The whole village board needs to get the boot. Caledonia needs development, not green space. Just look at your property taxes!
Rick Zinda August 30, 2011 at 10:31 PM
I know nothing about Jim Morrill other than what I read here but the article reads like he agrees with the public, no Wal-mart, keep it country..... And honestly I think we need more people that speak up rather than just follow the person they think will come out on top.
Paul Weyenberg August 31, 2011 at 03:51 AM
I agree with you Rick Zinda and support Jim Morrill's stance on Caledonia's future development plan
JW August 31, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Not all of the public agrees with that "keep i country" stance.... but I am ok with there being a mix of opinions on the board... that's how it should be.
JW August 31, 2011 at 12:19 PM
... if he left the meeting to go stay in Illinois for a few weeks, that would be unprofessional. Being vocal or showing signs of irritation about votes you disagree with alone are not enough to claim lack of professionalism. I see little substance to that claim so far.
crazycatladyofcaledonia August 31, 2011 at 02:07 PM
Didn't a public vote put Morrill in there? How can the Board remove him? Would there be a public vote to replace him? And why can't Caledonia have a more developed area on the eastern end and a more rural area on the western end like it is now?
screwprogress August 31, 2011 at 02:52 PM
Catlady, From the villages website: Caledonia Plan Commission The Village Plan Commission is provided for in accordance with State Statutes (Sections 60.10(2)(c), 61.35 and 236.02(13)) and Village Ordinance (SEC. 2-5-3) Membership. The Commission consists of seven citizen members. They are appointed by the Village President subject to confirmation by the Village Board. Each member serves for three (3) year terms. Members annually elect a President, Vice President and Secretary from among its membership. Only three members are required for a quorum. Powers. The Village Plan Commission makes reports and recommendations relating to the planning and development issues within the Village. Recommendations are generally made to the Village Board for final action (approval or denial). Planning and development issues incorporate any item pertaining to the physical development of the Village including, for example, neighborhood planning, land use plans, proposed subdivisions, public infrastructure improvements, site and operating requirements for commercial, manufacturing and retail facilities, proposed zoning plans, regulations and ordinances, and the Official Map.
Karen Itzenhuiser September 01, 2011 at 03:48 AM
I am in total agreement with Rick Zinda. Why should Mr. Morrill keep his mouth shut and ignore what is going on around us? At least he's not afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what he believes and why he believes it.
One of the Boys September 02, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Unbelievable, to remove a ten year veteran for disagreeing, isn't that why they have 7 members on a commission so the difference of opinions can generate a discussion of the facts. Morrill is correct, Time Transport will affect land and development values near it and that could lower the value of the other new developments by millions - lost taxes! I see Trustee Griswold opposed the proposed TID #3. Isn't that unprofessional and shouldn't he be asked to resign?
Duane Michalski September 02, 2011 at 02:50 AM
If you read the whole story you will see that Mr.Morrill feels as if he has been on the Plan Commision too long. If that is the case he should do the right thing and resign.
Duane Michalski September 02, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Umm crazy...the 2 biggest TID's in Caledonia are in Franksville (the middle) and out by the I-94 corridor. They just are not being used right. There has been much interest in development there but, the NIMBY's always open their mouths and run off the business.
Duane Michalski September 02, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Time Transport WILL be an asset to the village for decades to come. I would like to say WELCOME TO CALEDONIA!! May your business flourish here.
One of the Boys September 02, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Time Transport is welcome. That doesn't change the fact that it is a low value development with low tax base and higher value developments will shy away from being next or near to it. It is little more than a parking lot unless a quality office building(s) are associated with it. Hence, its very presence at that location will affect the future tax base of the TID negatively.
Duane Michalski September 02, 2011 at 11:39 PM
@ oneoftheboys....Low value??? Really?? And exactly how much "value" do you bring to Caledonia? How many jobs do you create? How much in development have you brought? What is your experience with development at all? Is this all hyperbole? Have you seen the tentative design? I have. At anytime in the future Time wants to move ...the left behind property will be able to be "turned around" and redeveloped rather easily. So unless you have all the info.....be careful what you say. We wouldn't want to slander a respectful company.
One of the Boys September 07, 2011 at 11:19 AM
I spoke with someone who attended the meeting last night, and talk about unprofessional, President Coutts would not allow any discussion. Then Trustee Griswold says he was going to abstain, yet when he realized during the vote that there would not be a majority to remove he changes his vote to remove Morrill. Coutts says it was the Board that requested this but he has the tie breaking vote and votes to remove. Coutts is not a leader, he is not a president, he has failed in his position. Thanks to Burton and Dobbs to at least not allow themselves to be rolled over. Oh, dissent, that may be unprofessional! This Board is embarrassing, THEY NEED TO GO!
Denise Lockwood September 07, 2011 at 12:25 PM
One of... the statement you made about Griswold is true and I added it to my update.
Andy September 07, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Duane M., I have to agree with One of the Boys. I'll go one further and say Time Transport is a low value blight type business that may increase the tax base short term but will certainly put off future homeowners and higher quality land development or office buildings. And as a VP of a manufacturing company I'm very aware of development and bringing value to a community. I am also very concerned at the shortsightedness of the board. It seems to be in a race to attract any and all development that it can get and become the new Cudahy.
Andy September 07, 2011 at 04:18 PM
I hope you'd feel the same if there were 20 diesel trucks idling in your back yard.
Duane Michalski September 08, 2011 at 12:27 AM
@ andy...homes cost money....business that are self sustaining...do not. Time WILL NOT cost the village a dime. I know you are a nimby but whatever. You are still wrong. And again i state the obvious...have YOU seen the plan? I bet not because you would realize that the Time plans leave future development wide open!
Duane Michalski September 08, 2011 at 12:29 AM
andy,,,,quit lying please. The closest yard is just over 1/2 mile away and the trucks have idle control systems on them which will only let the trucks idle for 5 minutes.
Duane Michalski September 08, 2011 at 12:32 AM
One more thing andy...I live very close to a business that has trucks in and out 24-5 days a week...never hear them. The only thing between us is a bean field. and that don't block much noise.
Andy September 09, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Not lying...just asking. Glad that you said you'd be happy to have a trucking close to your house, not all of us do and there are already many locations where you can find houses like that, we don't need to create more.
Heather in Caledonia September 09, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Andy, if someone is close enough that this truck business is in their backyard, they're also close enough to have I-94 in their backyard. Isn't that already loud? Wouldn't they have an idea that moving there might not be the quietest place? I wouldn't want a truck business next to me, but I also wouldn't move right next to the Interstate, either.
Caledonia Transplant September 09, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Gee, I live in a subdivision near where that trucking company is being built. And I really don't want that noise or smell in my "backyard". I live "close enough" to I-94 but do not hear the loud noise that Heather seems to think there is. I pay my taxes and have a right to oppose development. After all, my father fought in 2 wars and won the right for me to do that.
Heather in Caledonia September 09, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Caledonia Transplant, I'm not jumping up and down about how great this business is for the area. However, I know people who live in the trailer park in Sturtevant and we can always hear the traffic from the Interstate. I lived near Hwy 32 growing up and got used to the motorcycles, trucks, trains and fire station noises. We knew moving there that the traffic would create a lot of noise and so do the people I know who live near the I. Heck, they can even hear the dragway. Yes, you have every right to oppose anything you want to, however, what about the rights of the owner of the property to sell his land to whatever business he wants to and what about the right of the business owner to have his business?

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