Ashland, WI - (Northland's News Center) - Rather than concentrating on budgets and city issues, the Ashland community has been consumed with a drama– filled situation...that has the whole town talking.
Bill Whalen just passed his first anniversary as Mayor of Ashland...but now the pressure is on.
A recall campaign has been initiated against the Mayor, stating that he is inefficient and neglects his duty.
"I was led to believe there was going to be a recall as soon as the anniversary went by. And the anniversary is here, and now they're doing the recall," Whalen says.
Ashland city government is no stranger to controversy.
On more than one occasion elected officials have been escorted out of city council chambers by police.
Former City Councilor Diane Morrison is heading the charge to recall Mayor Whalen.
We attempted to get in contact with Morrison, but she was unavailable for comment by news time.
On May 25th Diane Morrison signed this campaign resignation statement to recall Mayor Whalen, citing his inefficiency and neglect to duty. But despite claims, Mayor Whalen says he's focused on making Ashland a better place.
"I'm not going to get too deep into the issue because I have a full plate of activities right now as Mayor. I don't want to get distracted, I want to do the people's work and if I get distracted by this I won't be doing the work I should be doing," Whalen said.
Of the people we spoke with in Ashland we found a majority of supporters of the Mayor's work.
Several City Councilors told us they're concerned that the recall is a distraction from the real work that needs to be done in Ashland.
"It is a distraction, but again it is the right people have to do if they want to go down this path. But again if people really want to consider this, I hope that they think for themselves and gather their own information to see if there's any merit to this as opposed to simply signing it," Councilor Pat Kinney, says.
Mayor Whalen says the former councilor, who lost her bid to regain her councilor's seat in the last election, has threatened the mayoral recall since his first day in office.
He says this petition is just another of example of behavior that is offensive to most people in the community.
Under Wisconsin state statutes, a city of Ashland's population must garner 782 signatures to force a mayoral recall election.