Jan. 31, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Elected officials on the West Bend Common Council and taxpayers in the community are expressing concern regarding the whereabouts of Dist. 2 alderman Steve Hutchins.
According to city clerk Stephanie Justmann, Hutchins has not been in attendance since Oct. 2, 2017.
That absence had a significant impact during the Jan. 22 council meeting which had to be cancelled because there was no quorum. Aside from Hutchins not being in attendance, another alderman fell ill right before the meeting and another had an excused absence for medical reasons.
There was quite a bit on the agenda including approving annexation so development of a new Honda dealership could move forward and there was a project concerning the Museum of Wisconsin Art.
“I’m concerned for him because it’s not like him to go away and not say anything,” said Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten.
In the past Hutchins has missed a couple meetings to go hunting. “That is his time away and I don’t begrudge him that at all but we are getting into some meetings, like last week, where we’ve got a company that really wants to come in and work with West Bend and we couldn’t get the business done that night…. for a variety of reasons,” Kasten said.
Like other city officials, Kasten hopes Hutchins is “ok from a health standpoint.”
Kasten has not spoken with Hutchins.
Questioned how city government can continue moving forward if one representative is continually absent, Kasten indicated they are working on a plan to take that under consideration.
Not only is Hutchins a representative of taxpayers in District 2, he is also the council president. That job requires him to fill in should the mayor be absent from a meeting. “Without Hutchins there it puts us in a tough spot for the licensing committee, especially if the mayor isn’t there,” Kasten said.
Hutchins is paid an annual salary of $4,236. He also receives an additional $30 per month expense allowance.
Hutchins was first elected in April 2009. He’s been reelected to a two year term the past four election cycles. His seat is up for election in April 2018.
Multiple attempts to reach Hutchins were unsuccessful.