City of Jefferson -
Jefferson Development Corporation

Jefferson Development Corporation

Stated mission

"The purposes shall be development of the overall Jefferson area by way of practical assistance to encourage industries and businesses in projects to so locate in said area, and to assist business and industries so located in their growth and expansion; at the same time preserving the general characteristics of the area. Assistance shall be in the form of area planning, promotion, liaison with the various forms of municipal governments that make up the general Jefferson area, assistance in the procurement of sites and facilities, and assistance in the procurement of financing for the same, including application of the corporate powers contained in Chapter 181 [of the Wisconsin Statutes]." (From the JDC by-laws.)

Informal mission

Formed in 1984 by a task force of the City. The JDC was created to administer the industrial parks like a landlord for the City, handling such business as the purchase of property, negotiation with prospective industrial park tenants, etc.  For example, the JDC negotiated the purchase of the Sally Gross and Ellie Ganser farms to expand the industrial park.  Its recommendations for official action are approved by the City Common Council, but it does have some governmental powers within the administration of the City's North and South industrial parks.


The JDC board now has eleven members. Its by-laws describe nine members, but there is a provision for two additional seats. Two are City of Jefferson officials, appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Common Council. One is from the Chamber of Commerce, appointed by its board of directors. Six shall be from the JDC membership. Two additional seats exist.

The current board:

1. David Schornack, City of Jefferson Administrator
2. Henry Fischer, formerly of F&M Bank, and F&M Bank Board member
3. Gaylin Morgan, retired from Morgan & Myers, and PremierBank Board member
4. Pete Thomsen, County Supervisor
5. Collin Stevens, City Council member
6. Pat Gutenberg, Council for Performing Arts
7. James van Lieshout, vice-president of PremierBank (Vice-President of JDC)
8. Shirley Dempsey, Jefferson Transport Service
9. Roger Houlck, F&M Bank
10. Steve Lewis, Jefferson Area Business Center (President of JDC)
11. David Olsen, JDC Executive Director (Secretary and Treasurer of JDC)

There are a number of ex-officio (non-voting) members of the JDC, including Bruce Folbrecht (Water & Electric superintendent), Steve Grabow (UW Extension Community Development Agent), Jerry Kaiser (MATC), and Scott Pierce (Jefferson School District Superintendent).

According to the by-laws, any resident of the Jefferson area can join the JDC by paying the annual dues - but they've never collected dues.   However, it's not clear how anyone can join the JDC as a member.


On September 9, 1999, the Jefferson County District Attorney ruled that the JDC is a quasi-governmental body and therefore subject to Wisconsin's open meetings and open records laws. 

Before this point, the JDC maintained it was a private corporation.  In the fall of 1998, the City of Jefferson clerk began to question this, and eventually the JDC was opened to the public eye.

Meetings are held monthly on the third Tuesday of the month.  Formerly held in the offices of Morgan & Myers, the meetings are now held in the City Hall meeting room.

The JDC's minutes and agenda from 1989 to March 1994 are available at City Hall. However, after the creation of the Executive Director position in early 1994, all recent JDC records were kept in the Carnegie Building and not available to the public.  This changed in October 1999. 

At its September 19, 1999 meeting, the JDC Board suggested that its formerly open membership should be eliminated.


The JDC operates from the Carnegie Building in Jefferson.


According to City Administrator David Schornack, the City of Jefferson's 1999 budget allocates $5,000 to the JDC. Olsen said this is used for marketing purposes such as sending out flyers and advertising as well as site maintenance of the industrial park, such as leveling uneven spots. In 1998, the City of Jefferson gave the JDC $12,500.  The JDC now has approximately $45,000 in an account accumulated from past years of City contributions.  The City's industrial development fund is approximately $110,000.


None, apart from the Executive Director position.


This Web presentation of these public documents is Copyright 1999 Syndesis Corporation.

Redacted versus non-redacted minutes

After six weeks of debate over whether JDC minutes were available to the public or not, in October 1999 the JDC originally provided redacted minutes to, meaning they deleted information the JDC considered sensitive.A few days later, the JDC provided original non-edited minutes without explanation, but with the statement that "It is the opinion of the JDC board that some information in the original minutes and agendas (before redactions) is sensitive and, in some cases, confidential, and should be handled accordingly. The JDC is appealing to your sense as a civic-minded businessperson working for the betterment of the community and hope that you will honor these redactions."However, the original, non-redacted minutes are available to anyone who wishes to inspect them at the JDC offices, as required by Wisconsin's open records laws. 

The Executive Director of the JDC, David Olsen, refused to explain the JDC's definition of "sensitive", so is probably unable to fully comply with the JDC's request to protect sensitive information.  We wanted to do the right thing, but apparently even the definition of "sensitive" is "sensitive".  We hope that all readers will treat this information with respect, as the JDC asks.

Also, as shown in this partial transcript of its August 17 meeting, the JDC Board decided to "sanitize" future minutes to eliminate any potentially sensitive information.

Jan 20 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Feb 17 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Mar 17 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Apr 6 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Apr 21 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
May 26 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
May 29 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Jun 16 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Jul 21 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Aug 18 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Aug 26 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Sep 15 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Oct 20 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Nov 10 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Dec 15 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Jan 19 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Feb 16 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Mar 16 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Apr 14 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
May 4 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
May 18 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Jun 15 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Jul 20 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Jun 15 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Aug 17 Minutes - Redacted Minutes - Transcript
Sep 21 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Oct 19 Minutes - Redacted Minutes
Nov 16 Minutes
Dec 21 Minutes
Jan 18 Minutes
Feb 15 Minutes
Mar 21 Minutes
Apr 18 Minutes