Rhinelander’s Guild placed on paid administrative leave
By Eileen Persike
The Rhinelander Common Council placed City Administrator Daniel Guild on paid administrative leave until March 30 at a special council meeting Friday night.
Guild was arrested March 9 and charged in Oneida County Circuit Court with misconduct in public office, a Class I felony. The special meeting was called to discuss his contract and any actions that can or should be taken.
One of the first items on the agenda was a motion by Alderman Lee Emmer to suspend a rule adopted by the council in July and allow members to participate by telephone. Council members Dawn Rog and George Kirby have been out of the state for months. During the public comment period, several community members spoke against allowing the two to call in to the meeting.
“These people weren’t put in this position, they were elected to this position, they chose to be in this position,” said Tiffany Kallio, adding, “We expected these people when they took this position to be accountable. And we should hold them accountable.”
During discussion on the motion, Alderman Steve Sauer said he would be concerned about the security of the conversation.
“Especially when we have closed session and especially when we’re talking about someone’s career and we’re getting legal advice,” Sauer said. “We have no idea who is on the other end of that line as we sit here and partake in a phone call. We have zero clue.”
The motion failed 4-2, with Sauer, Ryan Rossing, David Holt and Andrew Larson voting no, and Emmer and Tom Kelly voting in favor.
Before entering into closed session, Emmer suggested it wasn’t necessary and that the discussion surrounding Guild should be done in public.
“I think everyone here is aware of the charges against Daniel Guild,” Emmer said. “I don’t see how anything we can do can have an adverse affect on him and I believe the public deserves to hear what’s going on with this. I believe the public deserves to hear this.”
Kelly agreed, adding, “I think we should hash it out in front of the public so they know what’s going on.”
David Holt said he understands there is a “clear desire among some people in our community to try to make this as much a spectacle as possible,” and said it is a “terrible idea to have this discussion in a public forum.”
City attorney Steve Sorensen told the council he cannot give them legal advice on strategy in open session.
“There are strategies that I have to talk about with you all that frankly, you should want to have kept quiet, because you may disagree with me and that kind of a legal discussion does not belong in an open meeting.” Sorensen said.
The council returned from a nearly two-hour closed meeting and announced the decision to place Guild on paid leave.
Guild is accused of failing to keep some public records and making changes to others. His next appearance in court is March 30.