New London removes three city officials
Hoerth named interim city administrator
By Robert Cloud
The mayor and city council members refused to discuss what happened to three employees who are no longer with the city.
City Administrator Lou Leone, Finance Director Judy Radtke and Human Resources Coordinator Jill Maus were apparently removed from their positions on Monday, May 18.
The agenda for a special Finance and Personnel Committee meeting on Thursday, May 21, included an item, “Discuss and act on proposals for city administrator, finance director/treasurer and city HR coordinator.”
The council only discussed the appointment of Chad Hoerth as the interim city administrator.
Hoerth is New London’s director of public services.
Mayor Mark Herter met with Hoerth to ask him to take on some extra duties as an interim city administrator.
“I said for the time being that I would help out where I was needed,” Hoerth said. “I said I would give this a shot for a month or two.”
Hoerth said he may not get everything done, but he would get the most important things done.
On the mayor’s recommendation, the council voted to pay Hoerth an additional $1,000 per month for as long as he held the second position.
Citizens raise questions
Members of the audience wanted to know more about what happened to the three staff members who were no longer with the city.
“It’s not up for discussion,” Herter said. “It’s a private matter that I’m not obliged to talk about here.”
Personnel issues are among the few exemptions to Wisconsin’s open records law.
Requests to obtain most personnel documents require the staff member’s permission.
A citizen in the audience at Thursday’s meeting, Jenny Penn, asked about New London’s disciplinary process for employees who had no past disciplinary actions.
Herter told Penn the city follows the handbook and the recommendations of the city council.
“Shouldn’t that be taxpayer information then?” Penn asked.
“When it’s available, yes,” Herter replied.
“If you’ve done an inquiry, shouldn’t that information be open to the public … or at least to the people you decided to eliminate?” Penn said.
“That’s on them and the city to discuss,” Herter said. “Once that is all done, then it will be public record.”
“Did you guys not have a meeting Monday and tell these three employees either they resign of they will be fired? Is that what happened?” Penn asked.
Herter then responded that further questions should be directed to the city attorney.
The New London Press Star will report further details of the situation as they become available.