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home : opinions : letters to the editor
June 25, 2019

4/25/2019 7:30:00 AM
Reader shares observations of City Council meeting

To the Editor:

I attended the April 22 Rhinelander City Council meeting and listening to the dysfunction was disheartening. Blame is a funny thing, there is always enough to go around. This includes the mayor, administrator, council, management, employees and voters. I include myself because I bought into Chris Frederickson's promise of transparency and change.

A report on the no confidence in the administrator was not even on agenda.

A legal representation agreement was presented to the council for approval. It was not posted so voters could see it ahead of time and it wasn't complete, but it should be approved? Seriously?

The change in legal representation has never been adequately explained. $13,000 in office equipment should have been spent to update audio/visual equipment so those of us who attend can hear better or at least the folks at the head table should speak clearly into the mics.

How is it possible that a large group of city employees has grievances that have been unheard for years?

How can the administrator and the public works director go months without meeting?

I date myself, but I was taught Robert's Rules of Order. A key component is that is you do not interrupt. Even without that our mothers taught us manners.

I felt that many of the council members were unprepared. The worst example was during the sex offender draft discussion. I felt that few, if any, of the council had reviewed the ordinance or maps. I easily found the information on POLCO, although I did not find them on the city website. If you don't want to spend time preparing yourself for the council meeting then you probably should not be on the council.

The city is going to have a free bulk item waste collection. This is probably a good idea, but it is not in the 2018 budget. I may have misunderstood, but the cost will be about $63,000 less what can be sold for scrap, estimated at about $20,000. The council voted to accept this knowing a budget amendment of some kind would be needed to pay the difference. To me, it seems they are spending money they don't have. Government has become more dysfunctional and adversarial. It is too bad that we see it in Rhinelander's city government. Some leadership, transparency and manners would go a long way.

Mike Hendricks


Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2019
Article comment by: Jeremy Walker

The answer to why it's taken this long for employees complaints and grievances to be heard is because there is finally an Administrator, Mayor, and council members that are willing to hear employee concerns. Over the last 3+ years since the last administrator, council members(past and current) took on an anti employee stance along with a interim administrator, city attorney, and public works director. Complaints and grievances were effectively thrown out. The city has never had anyone with a HR background to effectively follow up on complaints and grievances. So employees have been silent with fear if they spoke that they would be reprimanded or terminated. Maybe now with people who will listen their work environment will be fixed and they can continue to provide services that the taxpayers deserve and expect.

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