Sauk County Board email chain prompts legal concerns

BARABOO – Sauk County Board members who privately discussed electing a new chair via email may have violated Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law, the Baraboo News Republic reported. Documents obtained under the state public records law show the discussion continued even after attorneys for the county repeatedly warned board members it might be illegal, reporter Tim Damos wrote.

Supervisor Wally Czuprynko of Lake Delton replied to county attorney Daniel Olson and the rest of the board after Olson’s initial warning: “Thanks for your opinion, Daniel. The full County Board is dealing with this matter.”

Further discussion prompted a warning from Administrative Coordinator Alene Kleczek Bolin, the county’s top official who also is an attorney, Damos reported. She deemed the email chain “an illegal meeting” and asked supervisors to stop replying. Olson then followed up with a second, more serious warning in which he notified the board that an intentional violation of the Open Meetings Law is criminal, not civil, conduct.

County officials have since posted the initial exchanges — the last of which took place Wednesday afternoon — online for the public to see.

However, the Baraboo News Republic has obtained documents showing that Czuprynko and another supervisor — Tim McCumber of Merrimac — sent additional emails long after they received the warnings.

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