Water under the bridge
Rhinelander city government leaders make amends, move forward
By Eileen Persike
More than a week after a controversial disagreement emerged at a Rhinelander City Council meeting, the two main players announced they have ended the dispute that centered on office equipment purchases made by city administrator Daniel Guild.
Instead of taking his seat at the Jan. 28 meeting, council president George Kirby sat in the audience and walked out after saying he wanted expenditures discussed by the council.
At a press conference, Guild said that Kirby approached him after a meeting Tuesday and the two worked through their disagreements.
“One of the reasons that we wanted to call the meeting is that I want to take this moment to humble myself and apologize to George publicly,” Guild said. “I want to affirm the fact that I’m very eager to have good communication, not just with George but all the council members.”
Kirby said he didn’t want to say a lot without the council there, but noted he will continue to work with Guild and strive for a good working relationship.
“It’s something we said we would do in the past and I think it’s something we need to strive to do better in the future,” Kirby said, adding that the council will go over the December and January bills and claims, in which will be the expenditures he disputed, at the next council meeting Feb. 11. He also stated that going forward, expenses like those he questioned, will be included on the council agenda.
Asked whether he regretted walking out of the meeting, Kirby said he did not.
“I was trying to prove a point as a taxpayer,” Kirby said. “I wanted to sit with the taxpayers. I still stand behind my actions.”
Guild chalked the incident up to Kirby’s passion, saying he has “never been part of a team with strong opinions and passions that hasn’t butted heads,” but that they also come together and find solutions to those disagreements and move on.