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September 2019 WMCA E-Newsletter

Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association
Monthly Newsletter

Your New President's

 Diane Coenen Headshot

When I started my first municipal job and attended the first year of the Clerk’s Institute, little did I know that WMCA would give me my legs to stand on.  And WMCA has continued to do that for me over the last 21 years.  Being a Professional Clerk became my choice of vocation because of WMCA, its education opportunities, networking and leadership.  I never envisioned when I started that I would become President of WMCA.  But once I completed my certification and felt more comfortable in my municipal shoes, I knew I wanted to keep learning and more importantly give back to this wonderful organization.  It has been a journey to get here and now that I am here, I have clear 2020 Vision of what I want WMCA to achieve for its membership.  And working together that Vision can become a Victory.

My Presidential theme will be Visions and Victories.  2020 Vision and Beyond will pave the way for Victories now and to come.  Just like it did 100 years ago on June 10, 1919, when Wisconsin ratified the 19th Amendment granting Women the right to vote.  It took the effort of both men and women to get the amendment to the US Constitution passed prohibiting the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex.  This monumental achievement may not have happened without the vision of all those who fought so hard to grant women full voting rights.  That Vision became a Victory.  So Happy 100th Anniversary!!!

For the next year, I will be using the motivation of the Vision it took and the Victory that was achieved to task myself, the Board of Directors, Committee Chairs and Committee members to approach the work we do with 2020 Vision to learn from the past, envision the future and celebrate the victories.

One of the big victories WMCA will be celebrating in 2020 is its 40th Anniversary.  WMCA did not get to our 40th year of existence without the first 39.  There were rocky times along the way, but vision and passion by those who worked so hard to ensure WMCA continued to exist to serve it’s membership is a Victory and I am proud to become a part of that legacy.  I only hope I can serve you as passionately and strongly as the leaders before me.  I will give it all I have and I know those that I will be serving with, will do the same for you.

One of the initiatives we have been working on for the last several years is getting others to recognize the work we do is a profession and those working in the Clerk’s Department are Professionals.  I would like you to join me in working to change the mindset of those outside of the Clerk world to see us as the Professionals we are.  To respect the work we do and seek out our opinion, experience and knowledge when decisions are made that affect the work we do.  Even small changes can have a big impact, so from this point forward please join me in referring to yourself and those Clerk staff with you work with as a Professional Clerk, Professional Clerk/Treasurer or Professional Deputy Clerk or Professional whatever the title is.  We are no different than a Professional Engineer and the Certifications we achieve are no different than those that achieve for instance their Park & Recreation Professional Certification.  History tells us the Municipal Clerk is the oldest public servant in local government.  It traces back before Biblical times.  Clerks were called Remembrancers because before writing came into use, their memory served as the public record.  Clerks were held in high regard and had titles such as “Mayor of the Palace” and “Diplomat for the King.” WOW!  From the very beginning it has been a profession that was respected and depended on.  But over the centuries the position of Clerk has lost its luster and your WMCA Board is taking steps to bring that luster back.

Other important visions your Board and Committees are working on is legislative initiatives by having a seat at the table so our voices can be heard and more WMCA Website offerings, especially in the Member Section.  And each time we accomplish a Vision we will be able to celebrate a Victory for you the membership.  Of course, we will be working on many things over the next year and I will keep you informed through our newsletter and Clerklist posts.

I want to Thank you for your support and I look forward to serving you!  There is One Last Thing I have been thinking about.  WMCA needs a theme song – don’t you think?  It remains to be seen if it will become a permanent theme song for WMCA, but it will be my theme song for the next year.  This song embodies WMCA and the legs it gives each of us to stand on – Stand by Me (Ben E. King)

Diane Coenen WCMC/CMC
2019-2020 WMCA President

39th Annual
Conference Recap


The 39th Annual WMCA Conference at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton was an education-packed event and yet the attendees also managed to have a great time in the evenings with our Roaring 20’s themed Speakeasy on Wednesday evening and the banquet on Thursday evening.

Initial comments at the conference were very positive regarding the wide variety of classes.  By now, if you did attend the conference, you have received the Post Conference Survey asking your thoughts on the educational offerings.  Please do respond and let us know the good, as well as the not so good.  Your responses are very helpful for the Professional Education Committee as they decide on the classes for next year’s conference.

The WMCA Annual Conference is also where we recognize the members that have achieved educational and lifelong milestones in the last year.  Check out some of the winners next.

The 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Lois Frank (right) with Teri Lehrke, Chair of the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee (left)

The Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association (WMCA) awarded Village of Cambria Municipal Clerk/Treasurer Lois Frank with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual conference and banquet in Middleton, Wisconsin on August 22, 2019.

Ms. Frank is a Wisconsin Certified Municipal Clerk as well as a Master Municipal Clerk.  She has been a member of WMCA since 1995, has held the office of District Director and has served on many WMCA committees. 

Lois has served the Village of Cambria since 1993.  Glen Williams, Village President, states that everyday Lois implements what she has learned through the association and dedicates her time and efforts to bettering her community.  Lois is referred to by her clerk peers as someone that many look up to and respect due to her knowledge, involvement, dedication and selflessness. 

Aside from her professional successes, Lois is an advocate for her community.  She is active in many community groups and spends much of her time volunteering. 

New Athenian Leadership
Society Members

 Athenian Winners cropped

Picture: from left to right-WMCA President Kelly Michaels; Jeanne O’Brien, Village of Fox Point; Pamela Little, Village of Chenequa; IIMC President Lana McPherson.

The Athenian Leadership Society is a program with IIMC – the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.  When a member participates in 10 Athenian Dialogues and submits the appropriate paperwork, they are awarded a pin and a certificate and become a member of the Athenian Leadership Society.  The new Athenian Society members are usually honored at the annual IIMC Conferences.  However, everything came together for a great surprise for one of our members at our conference.  Pamela Little knew that she and Jeanne O’Brien would be attending their 10 Athenian Dialogue at our conference this year but Jeanne was not going to be able to attend the IIMC Conference next Spring to receive her pin and certificate.  Pamela talked with IIMC and arranged for the awards to be handed out on Wednesday, at our Awards Luncheon.  The icing on the cake was that IIMC President Lana McPherson was in attendance and inducted the two ladies into the Athenian Society in front of all of their WMCA peers.  Congratulations Jeanne and Pam!

Honorary Member


President Michaels bestowed an Honorary Membership on Dennis Tweedale at the Awards Luncheon on Wednesday of the Conference.  As many of you know, Dennis Tweedale is the CEO of the League of WI Municipalities Mutual Insurance and the LWMMI and Dennis have been great Associate partners with the WMCA for many years.  Dennis has navigated Wisconsin villages and cities through the complicated issues of insurance and risk management for over 35 years.  The LWMMI and Dennis have also been very supportive of the WMCA as an Associate member for many of those years.

After his many years of service, Dennis is retiring at the end of the year.  The Honorary Membership is a great way to say thank you to such a great associate partner.  There have been many generous ways that Dennis and the LWMMI agents have helped support the WMCA with the most recent being their donation of $2,500 for each of the last four years for our Wisconsin Clerks Education Fund raffles.

Thank you, Dennis, for all your support and may you have a long, healthy and happy retirement!  The WMCA will miss you.

New Tax on Vapor Products

The Department
of Revenue (DOR) is seeking the assistance of municipal clerks in informing the public about the imposition of the new tax on vapor products in Wisconsin.  We expect that your members are contacted by individuals seeking to open retail vape shops in their municipalities and we want to help you answer questions.   

  • Effective October 1, 2019, Wisconsin law (sec. 139.76, Wis. Stats.) imposes an excise tax on vapor products in Wisconsin.
  • The tax rate is 5 cents per milliliter of liquid or other substance heated to produce vapor for inhalation, regardless of whether the liquid or other substance contains nicotine.  The tax is due at the time of receipt of untaxed product in the state.

What businesses are subject to Wisconsin's vapor products tax? Businesses subject to this tax include any business selling or shipping untaxed vapor products in Wisconsin.

The tax is primarily owed by distributors, but may also be owed by manufacturers that sell to retailers, and retailers that purchase untaxed vapor products for sale to consumers.

What products fall under Wisconsin's vapor products tax?
Liquids, gels and other substances—containing nicotine or not—that are used in vaping are subject to the vapor products excise tax. The tax is 5 cents per milliliter of the substance. It is important to note that vaping equipment and devices containing liquid, gel and other substances are subject to the tax, while vaping equipment and devices not containing the liquid, gel or other substance are not subject to the tax.

Is a vapor products retailer required to obtain a cigarette and tobacco products retailer license? 
No, vapor product retailers that do not sell cigarettes or tobacco products are not required to obtain municipal cigarette and tobacco products retail licenses.  However, retailers selling untaxed vapor products are required to have a DOR-issued tobacco/vapor products distributor permit.  The application permit is Form CTP-129.

Click here for an informational flyer.  For more information on Wisconsin's vapor products excise tax, visit and search keyword "vapor."  Thank you for your assistance.

Tom Ourada
Revenue Tax Specialist
(608) 266-8875

Message from Tom Ourada at the DOR

We want to make the Municipal Clerks Association aware that the Department of Revenue has begun publication of a new quarterly newsletter on alcohol beverage enforcement.  We have just published the first volume of an Alcohol Industry Update we are calling DOR on Tap.  We plan to use the newsletter to provide the industry and regulating authorities with information regarding enforcement activities, recent news, and answer common questions. We would like to engage municipal authorities in this communication, such as having a "Clerk's Corner" where we would address new questions submitted by clerks or your organizations.  It seems we are often tasked with quickly addressing industry developments where new trends result in a wide range of licensing issues, for example, alcohol mist machines, CBD-infused beer, pop-up beer gardens, etc.  Our hope is to produce a document that will be timely and informative regarding regulation of the alcohol beverage industry.   Thank you.

Subject: New Alcohol Beverage Enforcement Information Available
Information relating to alcohol beverage enforcement has been posted on the department's website. 

  • DOR on Tap, An Alcohol Industry Update (AIU001)
  • Advisory on Alcohol Mist/Vapor Machines in Wisconsin (100006)

Both documents can be viewed here:

Tom Ourada
Revenue Tax Specialist
(608) 266-8875

 WMCA Associate Members are great partners with the WMCA.  The next time you need to purchase a service or software, or other items, check out the vendors ads on the WMCA website on the Municipal Vendor page.

Issue #8  
September 2019

For the best display of this E-Newsletter, click here to open as a webpage.

In This Issue


New Educational Opportunities
[Click on the bold wording for more information]
Joint District 1 & 2 Mtg
-Oct. 4, 2019
District 3 Mtg - Sept. 19, 2019
District 5 Mtg- Oct 9, 2019
District 8 Mtg - Sept 10, 2019
Board of Review-Appleton-Sept 27, 2019

Grants Training in Green Bay
- Oct 24-25, 2019
WCMA LeadHERship Seminar- Nov 15, 2019

2020 Lifetime Achievement Award

It’s not too early to think about nominations for the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a municipal clerk or deputy clerk for their outstanding contributions and commitments to their community and their profession.  Any member of WMCA or a municipal official are eligible to nominate candidates.

If you know a clerk that merits consideration for the Lifetime Achievement Award, please take the next step.

Who is eligible for the Lifetime Achievement Award?  Must be a current member of the WMCA for at least five years, hold the position of municipal or deputy clerk, exhibit leadership ability, have received or currently hold certification as a Municipal Clerk (WCMC, CMC, MMC, WCPC), be active in the WMCA by serving on the Board of Directors, serving on a committee, attending annual conferences, workshops, or trainings.

What is the process for nomination?  Nomination forms must be received by the WMCA Executive Director by June 14th of each year, but we encourage you to start EARLY.  Click here for the Guidelines and Nomination Form on the WMCA website.

When is the award presented?  The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented at the annual conference in August.

Nikki Elsen, WCMC
Chair – Lifetime Achievement Award Committee

More Award Winners
at the 2019 Conference

The President’s Awards of Excellence

President Kelly Michaels awarded four President’s Awards of Excellence. 

President AwardsKathy Nickolaus, Chair of the Legislative Communications & Advocacy Committee and Nikki Elsen, Chair of the Mentoring Committee were
President Awards 2given President’s Awards, “for giving generously of their time and talents in support of President’ Michaels vision over the past year”.

President Michaels also emailed members to ask them to nominate a President Awards 4District Director that they feel has given above and President Awards 3beyond this last year.  There was a tie and the President’s Awards were given to Jill Kenda-Lubetski, District 5 Co-Director and Cindi Gamb, District 6 Co-Director, “for embracing the WMCA President’s initiatives and showing us the “Wow Factor” in your leadership style over the past year”.

Best Supporting Clerk Award

President Awards 2President Kelly Michaels  honored her Deputy Clerk Renee Tadych for outstanding performance in support of the WMCA President.  Kelly thanked Renee for your hard work, dedication and professionalism!

Educational and Years of Service Awards
Click here to bring up the list of all members that were honored at the Wednesday Awards Luncheon at the conference last month.


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