Greendale officials have completed their investigation into last week's removal of political yard signs around the village.
One resident, who thought his yard sign supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had been stolen by an on-duty village employee, contacted local conservative radio talk show host Mark Belling about the situation on Friday, January 6. The resident alleged that politically motivated Village of Greendale officials had ordered the removal of pro-Walker yard signs.
The resident told Belling during the radio program that when he followed the worker to retrieve his sign, he noted the worker's vehicle trunk was full of pro-Walker signs, but none of the opposing 'Recall Walker' signs.
In response, Greendale Village Manager Todd Michaels told both Belling and a Patch reporter that the sign in question had been on village property adjacent to the man's back yard. According to Michaels, the sign was in violation of the village ordinance on political signs and was legally removed by the worker.
Michaels said the incident was further investigated on Monday, January 9 and issued an update on the village website:
- No formal complaint has been filed with the Village of Greendale regarding the confiscation of political signs.
- Less than 10 signs, of both pro and anti-Walker sentiment as well as signs of non-political nature have been collected in the past two months. It should be noted that in one instance, several of the pro-Walker signs that were confiscated were near the same residence.
- No signs were removed from resident’s private property.
- In each instance, the confiscation of signage was done so in accordance with the ordinance as previously shared with you.
- As stated in the ordinance, the Greendale building inspector and his staff have the authority to remove any signs not in compliance with the ordinance.
Michaels says several residents have contacted him to suggest that village workers ask homeowners to move their signs if they are on village right-of-ways instead of just removing them.
He said the current ordinance doesn't require workers to do that, but that in many instances they do talk to the resident before removing a sign. He said the village may revisit the possibility of changing the ordinance in the future.