Rhinelander council adopts new ordinance creating code of ethics and ethics board
By Lori Adler, reporter
A public hearing was held at the beginning of the regular meeting of the Rhinelander Common Council regarding a new ordinance that creates a code of ethics as well as an ethics board. The ordinance has been available for review by alderpersons and the public for several months.
The code of ethics regulates the conduct of council members and provides thorough explanations of issues such as fair and equal treatment, use of city property and materials and conflicts of interest. The ordinance also creates an ethics board which will present an opinion if an issue regarding the ethics of a council member arises. The board will consist of five community members.
No comments were made by the public during the hearing, and later when the ordinance was up for a vote, no comments were made by council members either. The ordinance was approved unanimously by all alderpersons present (alderpersons Tom Kelly and Dawn Rog were absent).
Conditional Use Permits
The council approved two conditional use permits as part of the consent agenda. The first conditional use permit was requested by Lamar Central Outdoor, LLC, for a change in signage on Rhinelander Ice Association property on Timber Drive.
The other approved conditional use permit was for Rettler Corporation for Hodag Sports Complex to be located on the Rhinelander School District property on Coolidge Avenue. The council also approved the site plan for the complex.
Environmental Remediation Consultant
A request from Mayor Chris Frederickson to consider the hiring of Dr. Jim Tinjum as an environmental remediation consultant was approved. The hiring of a consultant is part of the city’s wellhead protection plan. A contract outlining Dr. Tinjum’s services as well as payment for those services still needs to be determined prior to formally hiring the consultant. Once the negotiation is complete, a contract will be presented to the council for final approval.
Traffic Violations Prosecutor
City Attorney Steve Sorenson requested the appointment of local attorney Steve Michlig as assistant city attorney for the purpose of prosecuting traffic and city ordinance violations. Sorenson explained that using a local attorney for this role would save the city money since the charge of $100 per hour is less than Sorenson’s hourly rate. Michlig was recommended by Chief Gauthier and Captain Lueneburg of the Rhinelander police department. The council approved the hiring of Michlig for this position.
Rhinelander Tourism Marketing Committee
Steve Sauer requested to be formally appointed to the tourism marketing committee. The city holds two seats on that committee but only one is being utilized, and the committee is often unable to have a quorum for their meetings. Sauer has been attending the meetings for the past several months and wishes to continue. The council approved the appointment of Sauer to the tourism committee for the remainder of his common council term. Mayor Frederickson holds the city’s other seat on the tourism committee.
Personal Legal Bills
Alderperson Dawn Rog filed a request for the city to pay her legal bills that resulted following an altercation at city hall in April 2019. A motion was made to table this request indefinitely, mainly due to alderperson Rog’s absence at the council meeting. The motion was seconded and then passed by the council. Since the agenda item was tabled indefinitely, alderperson Rog will need to request the item be added to a future agenda in order for the council to reconsider her request.
The council convened into closed session to discuss the rules related to the release of material considered attorney-client privilege and to evaluate the performance of city administrator Daniel Guild. Following the closed session, the council did not make any comments or take any action on either item and moved to adjourn.
The next meeting of the Rhinelander Common Council is Monday, January 27, at 6 p.m. at city hall.