Onalaska facing lawsuit over city administrator - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Onalaska facing lawsuit over city administrator

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Onalaska, WI (WXOW) -

A lawsuit filed against the city of Onalaska alleges the city broke the law in the process of adding the position of city administrator to its staff.

The suit, filed by Onalaska resident Greg Luce, claims the city's common council did not pass a charter ordinance, something its says is required when attempting to change a city's charter. Instead, it alleges the council passed a regular ordinance and in doing so, is not giving the voters of Onalaska the chance to decide who its leaders are.

"They want some sort of dictator, or king like person to come in and rule the people," Bernardo Cueto, Luce's attorney, said. "The people who would normally vote for their leaders all of a sudden don't have a voice."

Mayor Joe Chilsen said the city council receives advice from the city's legal council on most matters.

"We take our lead from our legal council and they told us to go forward and that's what we did," Chilsen said.

Cueto said passing a charter ordinance allows voters to take the issue to the ballot or referendum. If the court rules in his client's favor and forces Onalaska to redo the process and formally pass a charter ordinance, Luce will be satisfied.

"We just want to give the voters of Onalaska a chance to have their voices heard," he said. 

Read the complete lawsuit below.

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