County detective on administrative leave due to ‘Walking quorum’ investigation
By Eileen Persike
An Oneida County Detective Sergeant, who is also an alderman on the Rhinelander City Council, has been placed on paid administrative leave by the sheriff’s department, according to Chief Deputy Dan Hess. In an April 19 memo to department staff, Hess wrote that Rossing is not authorized to enter the administrative or secure areas of the facility without approval from Hess or Captain Tyler Young.
Hess said it is standard procedure to place an employee on leave when the sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation into that person. Rossing is under investigation through his role with the city council into an alleged “walking quorum” of council members and Mayor Chris Frederickson.
In February, the Oneida County District Attorney was asked to look into a possible open meetings violation. The request was sent to the state Department of Justice and further action at both the county and state levels is pending.
The alleged walking quorum involves a letter allegedly drafted to city council president George Kirby. Rossing, in addition to council members Steve Sauer, Andrew Larson, David Holt and mayor Frederickson, allegedly signed a letter asking Kirby to step down as council president. The subject matter was not on the full council agenda.
According to the Wisconsin DOJ, a walking quorum is a “series of gatherings among separate groups of members of a governmental body,” each less than quorum size, but together making up a quorum, who agree to act “uniformly.” The series of gatherings need not be face-to-face, but could include emails, phone calls and text messages.
A walking quorum is considered an open meetings law violation.