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Rhinelander City Attorney Warns Council About Guild Suspension

Wikimedia Commons Royal Broil

A closed session to discuss the status of City Administrator Daniel Guild did not take place Monday evening and an effort to talk about it in public was ended after a warning from Rhinelander's city attorney.

Guild is alleged to be the focus of a police investigation  involving public documents. The investigation is ongoing.

A scheduled closed session failed to happen.

Alderperson Lee Emmer then made a motion while still in open session to suspend Guild because of the investigation.

City Attorney Steve Sorenson said per city rules, you can't just suspend an employee in that manner. He said the common council has the right to request it's own investigation and possibly consider administrative leave.

But the basis for that hasn't been established...

"...You have to remember that, number one, there have been no charges filed. So there's a presumption of innocence. Also you have to recognize you already made a decision on some of those issues and and you can't get to do it over again. You don't get a do-over. You have to have something new...."

Sorenson said administrative leave would apply if the council determined he couldn't do his job because of the investigation. Alderperson Steve Sauer also raised the question of potential liability..

"Mr. Sorenson, could you explain the potential liability that the city faces by discussing this in open(session) without the formal consent of the employee being discussed?"

The matter was left open for possible discussion at the council's next meeting in January.

Investigators are still sifting through files that were seized at city hall last month.