Kronenwetter Village Board considers disciplining villlage administrator in special meeting

7 Investigates
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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Kronenwetter, Wis. (WSAW) - The Kronenwetter Village Board held a special meeting Monday evening related to a budget amendment and to consider dismissing, demoting, licensing, and/or disciplining Village Administrator Richard Downey. It is unclear why the board is considering potential action against Downey.

7 Investigates reached out to the village attorney, clerk, and other trustees for more information, but did not hear back before the meeting. The board went into closed session for over an hour and when they reconvened, they decided to continue discussion and negotiations with the village attorney for the time being. After the meeting, 7 Investigates talked with Village President Chris Voll. He had no comment on the situation but said the topic will be discussed again at a meeting in two weeks.

7 Investigates also spoke with Administrator Richard Downey over the phone who was in his office at the time of the call. He said he is not on leave, but could not comment about the meeting Monday. He stated he would not be in attendance at that meeting. That is despite him being the contact and preparer of the other agenda item. When asked, he confirmed he had secured legal representation.

According to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Wisconsin law, an appointed village officer can be removed “at pleasure” by the appointing body or officer, in this case, the village board. It requires a majority vote of all members of the board. A resident taxpayer could also file “written verified charges against the officer.” That requires a “speedy” public hearing where the individual is required to have the opportunity to fully present a defense against any charges.

The other item on the special meeting agenda was a budget amendment related to the cost for the village attorney. According to the report to the board that Downey prepared, it states the village president, Chris Voll, was consulting with Trustee Ken Charneski and requested to put additional funds into the village’s legal fees line item. This amendment passed unanimously. It moves funds allocated for a new planning technician to the legal budget as the planning technician was not hired until April 4, 2022, leaving previous months’ wages unused for this position for this year.

This is a developing story.

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