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November 21, 2019

10/15/2019 7:30:00 AM
Council set to discuss Guild recommendations for payment of legal bills

Heather Schaefer
Associate Editor

Rhinelander city administrator Daniel Guild has presented the common council with a resolution outlining action that could be taken to clear the city's mounting stack of legal bills.

According to the resolution included with the council's Oct. 14 agenda, the city has accumulated several outstanding invoices from the law firm of von Briesen & Roper S.C. as well as an invoice from another law firm, Kasdorf, Lewis & Swietlik S.C., related to work regarding a claim made by former public works director Tim Kingman against the city. The council fired Kingman on June 24.

According to the council's agenda, the unpaid bills total $199,140.01. Agenda item No. 50 under Bills & Claims reads as follows: "Approve Resolution #2019-27 re unpaid legal bills in the amount of 199,140.01."

In the resolution, Guild outlines his proposed "course of action" regarding paying off the bills and balancing the budget.

The River News is publishing the body of the resolution below verbatim, although it appears there may be missing words and/or punctuation. We would also note that at least one name is misspelled. Lukas Linsmeyer is a former county corrections officer who moved over to the city's police force. He is currently deployed in Afghanistan and is expected to rejoin the sheriff's department upon his return.

The body of the resolution is published here in italics. Readers are free to interpret it for themselves.

Whereas, the Common Council for Rhinelander, Wisconsin wishes to provide direction and guidance to the City Administrator regarding the payment and processing of unpaid legal bills; and

Whereas, the City Administrator has proposed the following course of action for the consideration of the Common Council:

1. Pay Attorney expenses for Von Briesen for Invoice #29447 for $33,904.82, Invoice #294152 for $42,735, Invoice #294153 for $2,597.50, Invoice #297587 for $456.70, Invoice #297588 for $24,505.01, Invoice #297589 for $3,602.50, Invoice #297590 for $78,269.54, Invoice #297591 for $5,050.84, for a grand total of $114,482.09 and authorize an additional $50,000 in anticipated expenses.

2. Pay legal expenses for Kasdorf (Attorney Tom Cabush) services for work regarding Kingman v. City of Rhinelander Claim No PRO00103831 in the amount of $8,018.10 and authorize the administrator to continue to make payment on these claims until the $17,500 CIVMIC deductible is met.

3. Endorse City Administrator plans to account for these extra expenses with the following strategy, redirecting unspent revenues related to staffing vacancies resulting from the City's separations (Ashlea Olson, Lukas Linzmeyer (sic), Amanda Young, Stephanie Rajnicek, Tim Kingman, Bill Keast, Aaron Domokos, Don Oettinger, Mike Belgram, Brad Vick and Josh Paetow), applying extra revenues from the collection of Cable Franchise Fees, direct 1/2 of the Salary of the Administrator to the Water/Sewer utility budgets due to extra work in these areas resulting from staff vacancies, potentially applying extra monies from the Worker's Compensation Fund.

4. In conjunction with the Finance Director, present a FY2019 budget amendment, revising the budget and rebalancing departments which exceeded their initial and preliminary to enable to close out the City with a balanced FY2019 budget, which preserves FY2020 expenditure restraint compliance, subject to Common Council approval, no later than the scheduled Council meeting of December 9, 2019.

Now Therefore Be It Resolved that the Common Council of Rhinelander, Wisconsin does ordain its desires adopt the recommendations of the City Administrator related payment and processing of unpaid legal bills, as stated in this resolution.

The von Briesen firm served as acting city attorney from June 1 until Sept. 24, when the council hired former von Briesen attorney Steve Sorenson as its new city attorney.

The firm stepped in to provide temporary legal services after the council terminated its relationship with former city attorney Carrie Miljevich at the end of May.

Sorenson's rate of pay is $275 per hour, the same rate the city was paying von Briesen.

The city paid Miljevich $140 per hour.

The common council meeting was scheduled to begin after this edition was set to go to press.

Coverage of the meeting will appear in Thursday's River News.

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