Wausau City Council Overrides Mayor Veto On Sober-Server Ordinance


Bartenders in Wausau will be limited on the amount of alcohol they consume on the job, after the Wausau City Council voted to override Mayor Jim Tipple's veto of the law Tuesday night.

Still, he said the final outcome of the issue is a win-win for the people.

If the council decided to support the mayor vetoing the ordinance, it would have been dropped and the council would have had to put it together again no earlier than 30 days.

But that didn't happen Tuesday night, and the ordinance will stand.

"Impaired servers pose a risk of health and safety," Melissa Dotter, of the Marathon County Health Department, said.

That was the argument to keep the ordinance in place that was voted Tuesday night.

But the fact that the ordinance was brought up and passed so quickly was up for discussion.

"An ordinance flew by in less than 30 days that needed to be questioned, and I did," Mayor Tipple said. "But at the end of the day, we'll get what we need."

Now this comes after the Wausau City Council passed an ordinance Jan. 15 limiting how much alcohol servers, bartenders and bar owners can consume while working.

This means if officers respond to bars, and suspect a bartender server or bar owner is intoxicated, they now have the right to give the person in question a breathalyzer.

If they blow more than a .04, the person could lose their serving licencee and face fines.

"Having a sober server is one element of this law," Chatterbox Bar Owner Dan Maas said. "It's not a bad element. I believe my staff should be that way, and those are the rules we uphold, but it's after you're off the clock that affects things."

"It's odd to be a part of a community that decides to change ordinances after they're passed rather than have the correct ordinance the first time," Malarkey's Pub Co-Owner Tyler Vogt said.

But the ordinance will be in place and will be in effect immediately.

"We now have an ordinance in place where we have had no input from the public, and that's a little risky," Mayor Tipple said. "But I think they'll trust the process and in the end we'll get what we need."

Also discussed on Tuesday night was how the city will enforce it.

Mayor Tipple said he didn't have a problem with the ordinance itself but how the process happened so fast.


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