Alderman investigated for allegedly intimidating transit director

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Wausau City Council members will discuss an internal investigation into one of their own during the Committee of the Whole meeting Jan. 13.

Alderman Keene Winters is the subject of a human resources investigation into whether or not he bullied and intimidated a city employee.

According to documents released by the City of Wausau, the investigation stems from an alleged incident between Winters and Wausau Transit Director Greg Seubert on Nov. 19, 2015.

Suebert claims Winters verbally abused him and intimidated him after a Transit Commission meeting earlier in the day. Suebert claims he feared for his safety after the exchange.

Mayor Jim Tipple and City Council President Robert Mielke initiated the investigation after learning about the alleged incident.

They assigned HR Director Myla Hite to gather the facts.

What was supposed to be a review of the documents in Wednesday's Committee of the Whole meeting, was tabled. Mielke agreed with points made by other members that they would like to take the time to read them over before it's discussed.

"I am not opposed to just letting them see the report. I know you got a presentation, but I can understand where they're coming from too," Mielke said to Hite during the meeting.

Alderman Winters admits he criticized a public official, but says it's the right of every citizen to criticize public officials without fear of reprisals from the government.

"And that reprisal consists of hundreds of hours of staff time, putting together a smear report and thousands of dollars spent on an outside lawyer, forcing me to spend thousands of dollars on an outside lawyer, whether I've committed a crime or not, and I've certainly not committed a crime," Winters argued.

Winters adds that he was upset about the process for discipline. He says the council should have came together and decided if there is an issue in the first place, and then gone from there to put together a committee of disinterested alderman to oversee the investigation. Therefore, he feels Robert Mielke and Myla Hite's involvement was not neutral.

Robert Mielke and the appointed attorney from Ruder-Ware declined a request for an on-camera interview.