8/20/2019 7:30:00 AM Guild: Kingman personnel file 'inappropriately removed' from city files
Heather Schaefer and Jamie Taylor Of the River News
The personnel file of former City of Rhinelander Director of Public Works Tim Kingman was "inappropriately removed" from city files, according to city administrator Daniel Guild.
Guild advised the River News of the issue with the file earlier this month in response to an open records request.
In an email, Guild explained that the city does not have any records responsive to a public records request filed by River News reporter Jamie Taylor over a year ago for "[A]ny and all written disciplinary records and documentation involving any investigation conducted into any adverse complaints therein, made against Public Works Director Tim Kingman between January 1, 2017 to [July 23, 2018]."
"I apologize for the delay in the City's response to the aforementioned request," Guild wrote in an email dated Aug. 7. "After reviewing the records in the City's possession regarding Mr. Kingman, the City has not located any records responsive to your July 23, 2018 request. As you may be aware, the City has been processing and attempting to respond to approximately 20 outstanding records requests at any given time, many of which overlap by seeking records related to Mr. Kingman in one way or another."
Guild then goes on to explain that Kingman's personnel file is no longer available.
"Since Mr. Kingman has left the City, it has been discovered that his personnel file was inappropriately removed from the City's files," Guild wrote. "That conduct was wholly contrary to City policy and procedure, and the City is continuing to investigate how this may have occurred. As a result, as of present date, the City is not in possession of any records responsive to your request. The City is deeply troubled that Mr. Kingman's personnel file was tampered with and, to the extent records responsive to your July 23, 2018 request are located in the future, the City will provide them to you."
Kingman was fired June 24 after mayor Chris Frederickson broke the common council's 4-4 deadlock on a motion to terminate. The vote came three weeks after Kingman was placed on "non-disciplinary" paid administrative leave.
After receiving the email, the River News sent Guild a list of followup questions, including a request to clarify when precisely it was discovered that the personnel file had been removed.
It's unclear from the email whether Guild means to convey that the discovery was made after June 3, when Kingman was placed on leave and prohibited from entering city facilities, or after June 24, when he was fired.
The River News also asked who discovered the file was missing, who has access to the files and if any backup was made.
Finally, the newspaper asked whether the city has inventoried all of its employee personnel files and if any others have been identified as missing.
As of press time, Guild has not responded to any of the questions.
The newspaper also reached out to Kingman to request a comment on the missing file.
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