Western Wisconsin Community Loses Half Of Its City Council In One Week

As Lawsuit Over Frac Sand Mine Annexation Looms, Council No Longer Able To Reach Quorum

The city of Independence Common Council, seated in the picture above, lost half of its members in one week after one died and two resigned. Photo: Rich Kremer/WPR News.

The city of Independence in Trempealeau County is without a functioning city council after losing half of its members in one week.

The Independence City Council couldn’t come up with a quorum on Monday night after losing three members in one week. One member died, while two others handed in their resignations. One of the resigning members claimed the city violated open meetings laws during a frac sand mine annexation. The other wouldn’t comment.

Independence Mayor Robert Baecker was blindsided by the news.

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“I don’t know if it’s ever happened,” Baecker said. “Our attorney even contacted the League of Wisconsin Municipalities on a situation like this and they were surprised, because to lose half of your council in a week is very unheard of.”

The nearby towns of Lincoln and Burnside are suing Independence for the recent annexation, which the state has said doesn’t appear to follow the letter of the law. Baecker said they’re looking at options to resolve the dispute.