Merrill city administrator threatens age discrimination lawsuit against city

MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) An attorney representing Merrill city administrator Dave Johnson issued a letter to Mayor Derek Woellner Friday, threatening an age discrimination lawsuit against the city, if city leaders decide to eliminate Johnson's job.

The common council is planning to discuss eliminating the city administrator position during its upcoming budget meetings. The mayor position, which is currently part-time, would then become a full-time position.

Woellner told NewsChannel 7 in an Aug. 20 interview he wants to save the city $200,000 and eliminating the city administrator position would cut at least $115,000, which is Johnson's salary.

Johnson's attorney, Jeff Scott Olson, of Madison, alleges in the letter that Woellner wants to eliminate Johnson's job due to his age. Johnson is 67-years-old.

The letter claims Woellner made multiple age discriminatory remarks about Johnson at a July 23, 2018 meeting. Olson alleges those comments were made at the same meeting where Woellner asked for Johnson's resignation.

Woellner declined to comment to NewsChannel 7 about the potential lawsuit.