No action was taken to broaden the investigation of alleged misconduct by the city administrator.
At the Clintonville Common Council meeting, Tuesday, June 10, Alderman Greg Rose said the investigation yielded leads that were left unanswered.
He added that the original scope was “quite narrow” and attorney Warren Kraft was limited in what he could investigate.
“This matter was unfinished, as already was disclosed and it needs to be wrapped up. People need to know, and the investigation needs to continue,” Rose said.
Rose made a motion to continue the investigation into matters of the city administrator with the broadening of the scope of the original investigation. Gloria Dunlavy seconded the motion.
Alderman Bill Zienert stated that the motion should have a specific fund that the money to pay for it would come out of. He also said the motion was very broad and due to the dwindling contingency fund, he recommended providing a more specific scope for the investigation.
Alderman Jerry Jorgenson agreed that the motion needed to be more specific.
City Attorney April Dunlavy told the board that if it wished to discuss the scope of the investigation, it needs to be discussed in closed session to protect the reputation of the employee. She also stated that since that was not on the agenda for the meeting, it would have to be discussed at a future meeting.
Alderwoman Mary-Beth Kuester addressed the funding issue by telling the council $10,000 was originally set aside for the initial investigation. She said since all of the $10,000 wasn’t used, the remaining amount could be used to broaden the investigation.
Alderman Mark Doornink addressed the council about trust.
“As items were chosen to be investigated there was trust placed in sources and I feel that trust has been misplaced. To me it feels like a witch hunt from broadening this to find whatever we can just to find it. I placed trust in the sources and that trust is broken,” Doornink said.
Rose amended his motion to continue the investigation into the city administrator to the broadening of the scope of the original investigation based upon the line items that were put forth in the original investigation so that those items may be brought to conclusion. The motion included that the money would come from the contingency fund not to exceed $10,000 as was the amount for the original investigation.
During discussion Doornink said that he didn’t feel that spending this money would yield a different result.
Council President Jeannie Schley said she thought it should be added to the motion to allow the investigator to pursue avenues opened up to him.
Rose rescinded his motion, and made a new motion. This new motion included, “to use whatever means necessary, which may be some personal items or other needed things that attorney Kraft needs to gain access to, to conclude that investigation.”
Dunlavy recommended that this topic be put on the agenda of the next council meeting so it can be discussed in closed session.
Rose rescinded his motion.
City Administrator Lisa Kotter then addressed the council.
“Attorney Dunlavy did mention that the person that would be harmed is me. And I will go on record to this council that I have no problem with you discussing this in open session,” Kotter said.
While some council members stated several times during the meeting that the investigation is not over, the investigating attorney submitted an invoice for the investigation.
The invoice attorney Warren Kraft, who conducted the investigation, submitted was for $5,600. For that amount the council did not receive a written report of the investigation.
According to a written statement Kuester provided to council members and the media containing the reasons for the vote of no confidence for Mayor Judy Magee, which was also discussed during the meeting, it stated the investigation was not over.
It also stated that all discussion took place in closed session and no minutes were taken. Note taking was also not allowed. The special counsel informed the council there would be no written report given.
Kraft also submitted an invoice for $1,478 for the service he provided regarding researching the city attorney position. The council had originally set a limit of $1,000 for this.
When discussing payment of the overage, Kuester said since the investigation invoice was less than the $10,000 limit, she suggested the overage be paid from the savings of the investigation not reaching $10,000.
“I certainly wouldn’t call it a savings when we are spending money,” said Doornink.
Mayor Judy Magee stated that she and Kraft signed an authorization form for the services to be up to $1,000.
Zienert added, “From my perspective if a consultant is given a do not exceed number it’s their job if they’re not hitting that number to reach back out to the client and indicate that there is going to be an overage, especially if the client has triggered the overage.”
He said he was disappointed and wanted to see more documentation as to where the overage came from.
Jorgenson agreed that the council should have been notified about the overage before the invoice was submitted.
The council voted 7-3 to pay the additional amount of $478.40 from the contingency fund. Aldermen Doornink, Phil Rath and Zienert voted no.