Banker Boot Camp – January 30, 2013

Breakfast with Bakke Norman“Banker Boot Camp” was the topic of the January 30, 2013, installment of “Breakfast with Bakke Norman,” a free quarterly seminar series. The seminar was held at the WITC New Richmond campus.

The panel discussion covered topics that were of current interest to community bankers, ranging from the implementation of the latest Dodd-Frank regulations to avoiding pitfalls in collections.

The panelists included:

  • Leah Hamilton, Director of Compliance Services at TriNovus TriComply Services, informing about regulatory compliance.
  • Daryll Lund, President and CEO of Community Bankers of Wisconsin, discussing regulatory issues and upcoming political issues facing community banks.
  • Dr. Logan Kelly, Director of the Center for Economic Research at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, providing insight on the regional economic environment.
  • Deanne Koll, Attorney and Shareholder at Bakke Norman, advising on avoiding pitfalls when collecting on accounts.

Videos of the speakers’ presentations can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/bakkenorman.

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November Municipal Law Alert

The November 2012 edition of the Municipal Law Alert is now available online. View the latest articles by clicking here or clicking the titles below. This month’s articles include a reminder of the impact fee deadline and an update on the latest rulings pertaining to Act 10.

Archives of the Municipal Law Alert, including the ability to key word search, are also available.

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Act 10 “Flavor of the Day”

Court rulings in both federal and Wisconsin state courts have overturned some key aspects of Act 10. (“Act 10” refers to 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, the bill that affected a sea change in collective bargaining and other issues related to municipal employees.) However, both rulings are being appealed.

In addition, there are other cases pending that may affect Act 10. It could be years before the dust finally settles. In the meantime, local municipalities and public sector unions must cope with the uncertainty created by the court rulings.

As a result of the court rulings, some unions have approached municipal employers demanding that the employers begin negotiations as if Act 10 never existed. Bakke Norman recommends that a municipality contacted with a demand for negotiations contact its municipal attorney immediately so that a proper response can be formulated. Each situation will be unique, and the same advice will not apply for all municipalities.

This article is intended to give an update on those specific aspects of the law which have been affected by these rulings. However, keep in mind that this is a lot like the “flavor of the day” of Act 10. There are still lawsuits and appeals that will have an impact on what municipalities, and unions, can and cannot do under Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law.

In WEAC v. Walker, 824 F.Supp.2d 856 (W.D. Wis. 2012) (appeal pending), the federal court, based mainly on equal protection and First Amendment arguments, struck down the provisions of Act 10 that:

  • Forced public unions to annually recertify by an absolute majority of union members.
  • Prohibited automatic deductions to pay dues.

In Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Walker, the Dane County circuit court struck down the provisions of Act 10 that:

  • Prohibited municipalities from bargaining matters other than base wages. Other matters, such as health insurance, retirement contributions and working conditions, may be the subject of collective bargaining.
  • Required a referendum to raise wages beyond the consumer price index.
  • Required unions to recertify annually and required a majority vote from all employees (need only a majority of those voting).
  • Prohibited “fair share” agreements.
  • Prohibited payroll deductions to collect union dues.
  • In a section affecting only the City of Milwaukee, Judge Colas ruled the City has the right to local control of its own pension system.

Judge Colas subsequently denied a request to stay enforcement of his decision pending appeal.

As noted above, these cases have both been appealed. Some unions and some municipalities (e.g., Dane County) were very quick to act under the new rulings. Local municipalities may also see renewed union requests or proposals. We advise municipalities to contact their municipal attorneys immediately if a municipality receives such a request.

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Impact Fee Deadline December 31, 2012

Municipal Law Alert, November 2012

Impact fees collected before January 1, 2003, must be used no later than December 31 of this year. If a municipality had an impact fee ordinance in effect prior to 2003 and it collected any funds in 2002 or previous years, it should be aware that it must either use those funds for the purpose for which they were collected, or any remaining funds must be refunded to the present owner of the property on which the impact fees were imposed.

Bakke Norman reported on this more fully in our May of 2012 Municipal Law Alert. See the article for further details on impact fee spending deadlines.

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County’s Interpretation of Its Own Ordinance is Presumptively Correct

In another case of “you can’t fight city hall,” the Feursteins wanted to move a shed closer to a lake shore, but the zoning ordinance setback did not permit it because it would be too close to the rear lot line. Feuerstein v. Sawyer County Board of Appeals.

Although this case had some confusing facts and a very odd shaped lot, in essence it came down to whether the County’s interpretation of what was a “rear lot line” or the Feuerstein’s interpretation would win out. In cases of interpretation of ordinances, the general rule is that a municipality’s reasonable interpretation of its own ordinance is presumptively correct. Of course, presumptions can be overcome, but they have to be overcome with sufficient reasons. Simply pointing out that there might be another way to interpret an ordinance will probably not win you a court case if the municipality’s interpretation is reasonable. In this case, looking at the map of the property, the County’s interpretation certainly is plausible on its face, and the Court upheld the County’s decision. Click on the link above to read the case and see a map of the somewhat goofy lot lines.

OSHA Assists Construction Industry to Improve Worker Safety

Breakfast with Bakke NormanMary Bauer, Compliance Assistance Specialist, explained the ways that OSHA can assist companies in the construction industry with worker safety. Bauer spoke as part of the Breakfast with Bakke Norman quarterly seminar series.

The Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin was the topic of “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. The panelists were:

  • Brad Boycks, Chief Lobbyist Director of Government and Political Affairs for the Wisconsin Builders Association
  • Mary Bauer, Compliance Assistance Specialist at OSHA
  • Toby Madden, Regional Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Julie Dodge, Senior Vice President at First National Community Bank

Other videos from, “Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin” series

WBA Rep Discusses Impacts of Political Shifts

Breakfast with Bakke NormanBrad Boycks, Chief Lobbyist Director of Government and Political Affairs for the Wisconsin Builders Association, discussed the impact of the political shifts on lobbying efforts. Boycks presented as part of the Breakfast with Bakke Norman quarterly seminar series.

The Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin was the topic of “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. The panelists were:

  • Brad Boycks, Chief Lobbyist Director of Government and Political Affairs for the Wisconsin Builders Association
  • Mary Bauer, Compliance Assistance Specialist at OSHA
  • Toby Madden, Regional Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Julie Dodge, Senior Vice President at First National Community Bank

Other videos from, “Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin” series

Challenge of Construction Loans in Down Economy

Breakfast with Bakke NormanJulie Dodge, Senior Vice President at First National Community Bank, explained the lending challenges for construction loans in the current economic environment. Dodge’s presentation was part of the Breakfast with Bakke Norman seminar series on November 8, 2011.

The Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin was the topic of “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. The panelists were:

  • Brad Boycks, Chief Lobbyist Director of Government and Political Affairs for the Wisconsin Builders Association
  • Mary Bauer, Compliance Assistance Specialist at OSHA
  • Toby Madden, Regional Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Julie Dodge, Senior Vice President at First National Community Bank

Other videos from, “Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin” series

Economic Trend Data and Impact on Construction Industry

Breakfast with Bakke NormanToby Madden, Regional Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, shared the economic trend data on the construction industry. Madden spoke as part of Bakke Norman’s “Breakfast with Bakke Norman” seminar series on November 8, 2011.

The Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin was the topic of “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. The panelists were:

  • Brad Boycks, Chief Lobbyist Director of Government and Political Affairs for the Wisconsin Builders Association
  • Mary Bauer, Compliance Assistance Specialist at OSHA
  • Toby Madden, Regional Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Julie Dodge, Senior Vice President at First National Community Bank

Other videos from, “Future of the Construction Industry in Western Wisconsin” series