Rhinelander city council

Star Journal

Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom has dismissed a case against Rhinelander Mayor Chris Frederickson and four members of the city council.

The decision came on Wednesday, according to online court records.

The Lakeland Times and Northwoods River News filed a civil complaint against the elected officials.


Some advice from the city's legal team led to a postponement of payment of three bills for which the legal team is owed. There also could be a problem as to where the city gets the money to pay the bills.

After the former city attorney contract was not renewed, the city contracted with a law firm they had used for projects over the years: Von Briesen, to provide services until a new city attorney is hired.

The city attorney's contract ended in May.

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The Lakeland Times and Northwoods River News have filed an open meetings complaint concerning an alleged walking quorum by Rhinelander officials.

At issue is a letter signed by four city council members and Mayor Chris Frederickson who wrote to council president George Kirby about stepping down from that function after a dispute. Kirby refused to sit in on a meeting he felt was taking illegal action. The letter to Kirby followed that meeting.

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The Rhinelander  Common Council meeting got off to a rocky start Monday night after Council President George Kirby refused to sit at the council chambers and left the meeting.

The council was already short members for the meeting with Dawn Rog unavailable, Andrew Larson was ill and one seat is vacant.

Kirby's absence left the council without a quorum. Kirby was in the audience but did not take his spot as the meeting began.

Mayor Chris Frederickson asked Kirby to say why he was not taking his seat...

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Rhinelander's City Council has decided to extend the City Administrator's contract but what the job will be, and some of the duties of the mayor are to be worked out.

With budget time here, the special meeting was called to determine what to do with the job now held by Keith Kost. Kost came in as a part-time Administrator last year after the dismissal of Kristina Aschenbrenner.

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Tuesday, the person offered the the job as Rhinelander Police Chief said he was declining the position he had accepted.

Wednesday, city officials revealed more details from their perspective of the job offer.

March 16, David Funkhouser was named the top person of three finalists to take the job vacated by Michael Steffis. While the independent Police and Fire Commission names the top candidate, the city council is left to agree to a contract, which was left open Monday. Tuesday, Funkhouser withdrew to remain as Kiel police chief.

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Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek has determined no open records violations occurred when two Rhinelander alderman released closed meeting evaluations after the firing of former City Administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner.

Tom Gleason and Steve Sauer sent the media their evaluations of Aschenbrenner. Wisconsin law prohibits the release of that material as a rule. But in a letter to the city regarding the complaint, Schiek says because Aschenbrenner gave permission to have the information released, no violations of the law took place.


A verified complaint has been filed at the Oneida County District Attorney's office against two members of the Rhinelander City Council alleging they violated a gag order put in place by the council and against Wisconsin statutes.

An emergency meeting was called by the council Tuesday where a resolution was passed ordering everyone in city government to not talk publically about the firing last month of City Administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner. Aschenbrenner had indicated in media reports she was considering a lawsuit against the city.


Two Rhinelander City Council members who voted against the termination of former City Administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner have come out saying Aschenbrenner was not given a fair chance and appear to be defying a council gag order passed Tuesday.  The city council passed a resolution putting a gag order on all city employees about the matter. A joint statement signed by council members Steve Sauer and Tom Gleason was distributed to the media after an city council meeting Tuesday.


The Rhinelander City Council has approved a memorandum of understanding with Oneida county to have two fire department personnel go out with the county Special Response Team, commonly known as a SWAT team.

Fire Chief Terry Williams says the Sheriff's Department took applications and after a testing, found two EMS-trained firefighters who met the requirements.

Committee chair Alex Young said there was considerable discussion about the role the Rhinelander personnel would have outside the city...


Rhinelander's city council Monday delayed action on a proposal to abandon plowing snow on a private alley way behind several downtown businesses.

The city has plowed the alley from West King Street to South Stevens St. only to find out it was private property. The public works committee split on a decision to abandon duties in the alley, fearing liability issues. But several business owners said with the city moving ahead with the Streetscape project, some of those businesses could lose all access if the alley isn't plowed.

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A last minute change in property values caused the Rhinelander city council to do some fast work to put out a 2015 budget.

The council Monday night approved a budget but more adjustments need to be made. Finance committee chair Mark Pelletier says they came into the meeting keeping the levy the same as last year. A recent reassessment of the Expera paper mill property by the state caused a scramble to balance the budget...


A two-year contract has been approved between the city of Rhinelander and the Oneida County Humane Society  continuing  the Society's  operational leadership of the adoption center.

The city council Monday night approved a revised contract which gives the Humane Society all operations of the Animal Shelter beginning January 1, 2015, including staffing and operating costs.

A number of other  changes were approved by the council, including the city picking up any amount of maintenance and repair over $1,000 to a maximum of $11,000 per year.


Six, 12 unit apartments at the end of Driscoll Road were approved by the Rhinelander city council Monday evening, but some near by residents don't like it.

Premier Driscoll Road LLC asked the city for needed permits to build the apartment complex. Local residents objected to the possibility of many more cars heading up and down the narrow street next to a cemetery.

City Administrator Blaine Oborn says the council and the developer worked out a development agreement. He says they listened to the concerns of residents along the road...

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Rhinelander has joined some central Wisconsin communities as banning cell phone use while driving.

A split city council last night voted to allow police to stop drivers from using cell phones while motoring.

Council member George Kirby asked for the ordinance. Personal injury attorney Peter Young told the council in the cases he's seen, cell use contributed to distracted driving and favored the ordinance...