Officers

League members may also request an opinion directly from the League via email. Please include the subject heading and number when making such a request.

751R1. Discusses factors to consider when attempting to determine the residency of a municipal officer, such as where person spends most of his or her non-working time, location of person's immediate family, site of children's schooling, where person is registered to vote, address given for mailing, and address appearing on driver license, car registration, bank accounts and tax returns. 10/29/04.

752R1. Any individual who believes that a person holding a local elective office is not a resident of the municipality or district in which he or she serves may file a complaint with the attorney general alleging that the person is not qualified to hold office because of a failure to meet a residency requirement. The attorney general may investigate the allegations and commence a quo warranto action under ch. 784, Stats., if he or she finds the allegations to be true. Wis. Stat. sec. 8.28. 10/29/04.

753R1. When an elective municipal officer moves out of the municipality or district from which elected but continues to exercise the powers and duties of the office for the remainder of the term, the officer's votes and any actions taken by the governing body are valid, since he or she is a de facto officer and the acts of a de facto officer are valid as to the public and third parties. 10/29/04.

760. A municipal attorney may not act as an advocate in an administrative hearing, such as a hearing on whether to close a group home under sec. 62.23(7)(i), Stats., a police discipline hearing or a liquor license suspension or revocation hearing, and then act as an advisor to the decision making body. Nova Services, Inc. v. Village of Saukville. No. 96-2198 (Wis. Ct. App. May 7, 1997). (Publication recommended.) 5/20/97.

761. The State Bar Professional Ethics Committee has issued an ethics opinion, E-95-1, concluding that a lawyer for a private person who is involved in a noncriminal matter involving a governmental entity is precluded from making direct contact with government officials or employees about the matter, when the lawyer knows that the governmental entity is represented by counsel in the matter. 6/30/97.

762. Under ch. 784, Stats., any individual who believes that a person has usurped, intruded into or unlawfully holds any elective or appointive public office may file a complaint with the attorney general alleging that the individual unlawfully holds public office. Sec. 784.04(1)(a), Stats. The attorney general may, when such a complaint is filed, investigate whether the allegations are true. If the attorney general finds that the allegations in the complaint are true, the attorney general may commence an action under ch. 784, Stats., for a writ of quo warranto to have the office in question declared vacant. Sec. 784.04(2). Stats. If the attorney general refuses to act on a complaint filed under ch. 784, the complainant may, on his or her own, commence a quo warranto action under ch. 784. 9/22/98.

763. Explains the role of the municipal attorney and offers suggestions for using the municipal attorney more effectively. 2/28/01.

763r. Explains the role of the municipal attorney and offers suggestions for using the municipal attorney more effectively. 8/31/12.

764. While the potential for conflict of interest is a relevant consideration for appointing authorities reviewing potential appointees' qualifications for a public office or position, conflict of interest laws do not prevent a person from being appointed because of an actual or potential conflict of interest. Conflict of interest laws therefore do not prohibit an executive director of a privately-funded, non-profit organization that promotes a city's downtown or central business district from being appointed to a city committee that is responsible for administering commercial property rehabilitation loans made available through CDBG monies. 5/31/01

765. Neither a city council nor a mayor have authority to limit the period of investigative suspension or involuntary administrative leave imposed by a police chief, fire chief or police and fire commission pursuant to their sec. 62.13(5)(b), Stats., authority. However, if a mayor, police chief or fire chief has general administrative authority to impose such leave, its exercise may be limited by the city council or mayor. 12/31/02.

766. A trustee who is vested with appointment, compensation or other significant authority over members of a village plan commission may not provide analysis of or a recommendation on zoning permits to such commission in zoning permit proceedings because such action imposes duress or undue pressure on and creates an impermissibly high risk of bias for members of the commission. 3/4/03.

767. Summarizes Wis. Stat. secs. 17.12 and 17.13 which governs removal of city and village officials holding elective and appointive office and determines when officials can be removed at pleasure and when they must be removed for cause. Also reviews the procedure set forth in sec. 17.16 for removing an official for cause, which is defined as inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct or malfeasance in office. 1/31/04.

767R1. Summarizes Wis. Stat. secs. 17.12 and 17.13 which govern removal of city and village officials holding elective and appointive office and determines when officials can be removed at pleasure and when they must be removed for cause. Also reviews the procedure set forth in sec. 17.16 for removing an official for cause, which is defined as inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct or malfeasance in office. 12/31/12.

768. Opinion addresses elements of impartiality and bias as it relates to members of alcohol licensing committee as well as recusal. 6/23/09.

769. Note reviews SCR 23.01 and SCR 23.02, the new Wisconsin Supreme Court rules which define the practice of law and regulate the unauthorized practice of law by nonlawyers and highlights exceptions to unauthorized practice of law rules of interest to municipal officers, employees and consultants. 12/31/10.

770. Legal comment written by Texas Municipal League's legal staff discusses various ways municipalities procure legal counsel (by in-house legal department, by contracting with a private law firm that specializes in municipal law or by contract with a local, general practitioner), and some of the considerations relating to each.  Also explains what the city attorney does and some of the limitations with regard to use of the municipal attorney by public officials and employees. 8/31/12.

771. Discusses ability of local officials to, in their official or individual capacities, lobby or attempt to influence state legislation without registering as lobbyists or complying with the provisions in Wis. Stat. Chapter 13, the state lobby law. 11/30/14.

772. Legal comment provides a basic overview of the municipal clerk’s duties and the important role played by the municipal clerk. 3/31/15.