Winnebago City Council went into closed-session to discuss a supervisory and administrative staff issue at their April 9 meeting.
After nearly an hour behind closed doors, City Attorney David Frundt says council members took no action.
“There are a couple of city employees who have requested to have the council review their personnel files pursuant to the city personnel policy in the form of a grievance,” says Frundt. “Because this is personnel file information, it is private information.”
The closed-session discussion appears to be related to a letter sent to the Personnel Committee that sparked a verbal spat between council members Rick Johnson and Paul Eisenmenger at a March work session.
Eisenmenger called the letter,”surprising and weird” and wanted to know the contents of the letter.
But, Johnson said the matter was similar to an attorney/client privilege relationship and nothing could be said at that time.
Tripleanews.com has learned the “employee grievances” may be related to some city workers possibly not following the chain of command process outlined in the personnel policy.
At his final council meeting, former City Administrator Chris Ziegler had some advice for council members if they hire a new administrator.
“If you go down the path of an administrator, I would say the most important thing is to follow the chain of command,” Ziegler says. “Make sure that everyone on the council reinforces the personnel policy and chain of command.”
Former councilman Scott Robertson has told Tripleanews.com that in the past there have been times when an employee who had a concern or problem would go directly to the mayor or a council member instead of Ziegler.
“They would basically cut him out of the process and they were micro-managing,”says Robertson. “It’s like you’re getting back-doored.”
Frundt says under the state Data Practices Act, if the council takes any action on the grievances that information cannot be made public.