The Clintonville Common Council voted 10-0, Tuesday, May 13, to investigate alleged misconduct by City Administrator Lisa Kotter, and suspend her immediately for five scheduled work days with pay pending an investigation.
The decision came after almost 3 1/2 hours of closed session deliberation on several topics.
Kotter had to immediately surrender her city cell phone, computers, keys, credit cards and any other city property in her possession to Police Chief Terry Lorge.
An investigation will be conducted by a special counsel to be named, not to exceed $10,000 from the Contingency Fund. The limited scope investigation will be determined by the council.
Last week the council approved spending up to $1,000 to review the city attorney position. Warren Kraft was hired for this special counsel and met with the special committee to research the city attorney position, Monday, May 12.
Kraft was also at the regular council meeting Tuesday and presented to the board his interpretation of where the city stands with its city attorney position. He said current city attorney Tim Schmid was not in the position by defacto. Kraft said Schmid was a “holdover” until an appointment is confirmed.
After his presentation, Mary Beth Kuester, the chairwoman of the special committee, informed the council that it was the committee’s recommendation to hire April Dunlavy to be city attorney.
When it came time for the mayor to appoint a city attorney, Mayor Judy Magree made the following statement, “Before I make an appointment I want everyone to know that this is a very difficult position that I am in right now. I have been the recipient of a threat from a person sitting within this complex. And it was in regard to my appointment. I have three attorney decisions. Each one of them has a different interpretation of statute 62.09 in regard to the municipal attorney position. Now you would think that the statutes would be written so that we could all interpret it the same way. Apparently that’s not true because I interpret it a fourth way. So, with that being said, I appoint April Dunlavy as city attorney.”
The appointment passed 6-3 with alderwoman Gloria Dunlavy abstaining. Gloria Dunlavy is April Dunlavy’s mother. Common Council president Jeannie Schley is April Dunlavy’s aunt. Schley did not abstain.
During the regular meeting, there were a few expenditures approved, with the funds coming from the Contingency Fund. During one of the discussions Alderman Mark Doornink asked how much money was in that fund since the year isn’t half over yet.
After the approved expenditures, the fund stood at $22,604. That is before the bill that could be up to $1,000 for Kraft as special counsel. That’s also before the cost of the special counsel up to $10,000 to investigate Kotter’s alleged misconduct.