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The Vanguard

Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.

Big Pig Gig Gets Taxpayer Hand-Bailout While Jeskewitz Apparently Adds to the State's $2.5 Billion Deficit

big pig gig jeskewitz unused sick leave

The 3rd Annual Big Pig Gig (http://www.thebigpiggig.com/index.php/about/) is this weekend in Menomonee Falls on Friday, September 17th and Saturday, September 18th.

The event is being promoted with taxpayer money as having music and a barbecue cook off competition.

Events of this nature are always welcomed and need to be supported to help the local businesses who continue to be challenged by the current economic conditions and lack of traffic in downtown Menomonee Falls.

The Big Pig Gig will be located on Garfield Street next to Village Park and North Middle School which is the same location where Falls Fest is held each year when the street is closed for the event.

The entire area of the event is about the size of a couple of football fields.

The event took a break in 2009 due to leadership changes at The Chamber.

Event Receives Direct Taxpayer Funding

The Big Pig Gig has received direct taxpayer funding to the tune of approximately $75,000 - $100,000 over the last 4 years as part of a JEM Grant Program through the Wisconsin Division of Tourism (http://industry.travelwisconsin.com/Grants.aspx) totally funded by taxpayers.

The goal of the grant program is to expand tourism in Wisconsin for the economy through non-profit groups. 

The program has been around for 20 years and has handed out $845,000 of taxpayer money around the State of Wisconsin for some 35 individual programs in 2008.

Big Pig Gig Spends in Excess of $700,000 in First Two Years

The Vanguard has obtained, without the cooperation of The Chamber, the 2007-08 numbers for the Big Pig Gig after having been promised the numbers by the Chamber's Director.

The Big Pig Gig is an excellent idea whose time is long past due in Menomonee Falls.  The more people in the Falls the better for local businesses.

The Vanguard is simply disclosing what is being done with taxpayer money and what is being reported for the event by the LSM (Lame Stream Media).

The following are some interesting observations of what is being reported for the event:

  • According to the Chamber, 60,000 attendees each in 2007 and 2008.  To put that in perspective, that is more than Miller Park (43,000), Wrigley Field (41,210) and just a little under Lambeau Field (72,500) and Camp Randall (80,321).  The area of the event is maybe 300' x 500'.  Anyone who has been to any major sporting event knows what it's like to be around 50,000 - 70,000 people in a small area.  Irish Fest reported attendance this year of 124,000 and that was at the Summerfest Grounds.  Anotherwords, twice as many people that live in Menomonee Falls (32,647) somehow are able to congregate on two football fields at basically the same time on a Friday night for 4-5 hours and a Saturday over a 10-12 hour period?
  • The local economy benefited $500,000-$750,000 from the event this year according to the Chamber.  How is that possibly measured other than just a guess?
  • Sales of $232,781 for 60,000 attendees in 2007 for an average of $3.88 per attendee.  Sales of $264,428 for 60,000 attendees in 2008 for an average of $4.41 per attendee.
  • Bus shuttle service fees of $6,895 in 2007 and $3,000 in 2008 for 60,000 attendees.
  • Beer costs of $24,621 in 2007 and $21,720 in 2008 for 60,000 attendees or about $.35 - $.40 per attendee.  Must have been a chilly weekend.
  • $97,395 for Entertainment and Production costs in 2007 and $65,740 in 2008.
  • $39,500 taxpayer grant in 2007 and $30,000 in 2008.
  • Media buys of $56,674 in 2007 and $40,276 in 2008.
  • Tent costs of $16,798 in 2007 and $15,789 in 2008.
  • Kansas City Barbecue Expenses of $29,207 in 2007 and $28,812 in 2008.
  • $27,000 in Additional Entertainment and Production Expenses.
  • $34,000 in Additional Expenses.
  • $22,000 in generator expenses.
  • $9,000 in booklet expenses.
  • $5,000 in electrical costs.
  • $22,000 in signage costs.
  • $11,000 in promotional items.
  • Food Vendor Disbursements $152,000.
  • Volunteer Contribution $10,000.  2008 not paid yet.
  • Tokens and Counter $8,000.
  • Cash Sponsors $94,000.
  • Vendor fees $29,000.
  • Contestant fees $28,000.

When the volunteers were paid, the event will have netted over two years about $4,000. 

The Vanguard is aware that the former Greater Menomonee Falls Committee cash account had to pay some of the volunteer organizations because The Chamber did not have enough money to do so. 

It will interesting to see if the event continues once the taxpayers stop subsidizing next year.

Stop by the event this weekend.

Jeskewitz Apparently Adds to the State's $2.5 Billion Deficit with $22,000 Unused Sick Leave Payout

Former State Representative and current Chamber Director, Sue Jeskewitz, apparently has added to the State's $2.5 Billion Deficit (http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/98116689.html) with an unused sick leave payout of $22,000 for health care in retirement.

State Officials familiar with Jeskewitz's time in the Legislature confirmed that she could use a payout of $22,000 for her time in office for health care costs in retirement.

Jeskewitz was the hand picked successor at the last minute for former Representative Lolita Schneiders in 1996 thus preventing any other candidates the opportunity to submit nomination papers for the office.

Jeskewitz left office in January of 2009 after serving 10 years in the Assembly when Dan Knodl, her apparent hand picked successor, was elected to the Assembly under a cloud using her husband's name until he was charged and convicted for committing a crime by using people's names on his literature several times during the 2008 Campaign.

She had a less than memorable time in office as anyone would be hard pressed to name any accomplishment of hers while being in the Assembly other than always supporting WEAC and the teacher's union. 

After leaving office in January of 2009, she immediately positioned herself for the Chamber Director's Position when it became available because the existing director was pressured to leave under questionable circumstances that have yet to be made public even though The Chamber has been subsidized since the late '90's by the taxpayers to the tune of about $10,000 - $20,000 a year.

The Chamber is housed in a downtown building that was gifted to Falls Fest in 1997 by the Village Board which is or has been made up of a lot of the same people including her husband, Jim Jeskewitz.

It's hard to tell who is actually on the Board of Directors for Falls Fest as it is operated like a "secret society" even though the non-profit group has indirectly and directly received many benefits from the taxpayers over the years.

Falls Fest was supposed to repay the taxpayers for the purchase and renovation of the downtown building with rent money from The Chamber, but somehow was able to rewrite a passed resolution of the Village Board, without approval, that required repayment only to pocket the rent money from The Chamber since 1997 which is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000.

The total purchase price, renovation costs and paid rental fees have totaled well over $600,000 that Falls Fest has never had to give an accounting for to the Village Board, which once again is or has been made up of a lot of the same people over the years.

Oh the strange webs that are woven.

Other Legislators Refuse Unused Sick Leave Payouts for Health Care in Retirement

In an unusual act of flagrant journalism, the abuse of unused sick leave payouts surfaced in 2007 when many local public employees were exposed by the local press for receiving large cash payouts from the taxpayers including the former Village Manager of Menomonee Falls, Dick Farrenkopf, who received a $70,000 cash payout in 2007 which was approved by Trustees Jeskewitz, McDonald and Steliga as part of their $5,000,000 funded and unfunded unused sick leave cash payouts policy since the early '90's at taxpayers expense (http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29406379.html).

For whatever reason the State of Wisconsin also gave this perk to office holders.

State legislators, Supreme Court Justice(s) and former office holders were also exposed  for abusing this perk which led to Senator Darling and Kanavas, who represent Menomonee Falls in the State Senate, issuing a press release in 2007 (http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/asm98/news/press/20080307.pdf) that called for the elimination of this perk and outright refusing to accept it when they left office.

According to Darling and Kanavas, the potential monthly obligation for this perk is approximately $285,000 a month and could reach $10 - $12,000,000 by the end of 2010 unless something is done thus unnecessarily contributing to the State's $2.5 billion deficit. 

Representative Pridemore, who also represents Menomonee Falls in the Assembly, has stated publicly that he too would refuse this perk when he leaves office.

Jeskewitz Refuses to Respond to Inquiries About $22,000 Unused Sick Leave Payout

After repeated attempts to get a public statement from the former legislator, it appears that Jeskewitz has taken the $22,000 payout for health care costs in retirement which has directly helped balloon the State's $2.5 billion deficit.

At a time when our State's Economy is hurting, taxpayers are being pushed to the limit with high taxes and our government's debt is escalating at a rate that is unsustainable, wouldn't it be refreshing if Sue Jeskewitz would do the right thing that Darling, Kanavas and Pridemore have pledged to do and forgo the $22,000 unused sick leave payout to the taxpayers to pay down the State's Debt?

Or if she has received the $22,000 payout for health care costs, return it to the taxpayers?

Director Jeskewitz, you are once again welcome to contact The Vanguard at anytime to clarify this issue from your standpoint .

Your Thoughts

Let The Vanguard know your thoughts about this issue.

Should this policy be changed to help save the taxpayers money and pay down the State's Debt?

Would it be helpful for Sue Jeskewitz to come clean and let the taxpayers know what she did with their $22,000?

Where do the progressive democrats and RINOS (republicans in name only) of Menomonee Falls come down on this issue?

It will be interesting to see how they defend this or will they just do what they normally do when they ridicule or try to have people fear them with their threatening tactics?

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