Waunakee’s Village Board President will abstain from voting and recuse himself from discussions on financial services agreements between Waunakee Community Bank and the Village of Waunakee.
Village Board President Chris Zellner recently was hired by Waunakee Community Bank as vice president, relationship development officer. After the announcement of his hire, questions were raised regarding any conflict of interest on Zellner’s part in the two roles.
Zellner made the announcement about his future conduct as village board president at the Sept. 16 meeting of the board.
“When I was considering making a change of employment, I reached out to the village attorney and had an initial discussion about whether a position with the bank would raise any conflict of interest issues with being in an elected position with the village,” Zellner said.
“The village attorney has informed me that there may be instances where I, like any elected official in the village or any elected official in any other municipality, will have to abstain from voting on matters or participating in discussions on matters because of the direct impact on my employer,” Zellner said.
Zellner noted that when he was affiliated with the insurance industry with Aflac, Aflac had approached the village about “doing business.”
“I was not part of any of those meetings with any of the representatives that came in and recused myself when it came before the board for any discussion or any vote,” Zellner said.
Zellner noted if any similar situations were to arise, he would abstain from voting or participating in discussions on that vote.
At last week’s plan commission, Zellner said he abstained from voting on any of the agenda items “out of an abundance of caution” while waiting for the village attorney’s opinion.
“I can tell you now that if the plan commission meeting were held today, or next Monday instead of last Monday, I would not be abstaining from those votes or discussions because there would be no reason to do so,” Zellner said.