Guild narrowly avoids suspension after 5 city employees submit letter of no confidence

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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) -- Rhinelander's city council narrowly voted down a motion Monday night to suspend their city administrator Daniel Guild, former Weston village administrator. Mayor Chris Frederickson cast the tie-breaking vote, 5-4.

Earlier in the meeting, Public Works director Tim Kingman also submitted a declaration of no confidence in Daniel Guild to the council, signed by himself and four other city employees--including city clerk Val Foley and Guild's own administrative assistant, Stephanie Rajnicek.

"There are likely other criminal type actions forthcoming," Kingman said in public comment when he presented the letter.

The letter was obtained by NewsChannel 7 and reads in part, "Mr. Guild has failed to lead the City of Rhinelander appropriately in his tenure here. He cancels meetings or is often tardy for them. He recently scheduled a Department Head training on February 20, 2019 that he failed to show up for entirely. He has failed to consult with select Department Heads and employees on decisions large and small."

The letter goes on to state that he is rarely in his office to answer questions, and "often doesn't respond" to emails and other communication. When NewsChannel 7 called Rhinelander City Hall for comment late Tuesday morning, the city clerk stated that Guild was not in his office, and had not been in yet that morning. Later that day, the city clerk said he had spent some of the day in and out of the ofice. The mayor, who cast the tie-breaking vote against a suspension, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

The letter finishes by stating that those who had signed it feared that Guild or certain alderpersons would try to retaliate against the employees, but that such action would be illegal. Foley tells NewsChannel 7 that she recused herself from recording the council vote, due to her signature on the letter.

In a 2017 performance review of Guild while he was still village administrator for Weston, board comments stated that he "works too much remotely" and estimated that Guild worked in office about "10 hours a week." The review also noted that he was late to meetings or was prone to late cancellations, as was also noted in Kingman's letter Monday night.

Other comments included that Guild "has become known for showing up late or missing meetings completely and known that he is frequently not in the office."

It also stated he "does not respond well to constructive criticism." Suggestions for his improvement included providing staff and board with information about his schedule.

Guild is approaching his six-month review as Rhinelander's city administrator, following a retroactively-voided suspension after serving as Weston's village administrator for four years. We still don't know why that suspension took place.

Kingman also told the council Monday night that he believes Guild is taking the city in a "new direction" that could include the removal of the city attorney and himself. Kingman finished his comments by saying, "This is by far the very worst morale and conflicts within the city" that he's witnessed. He declined to discuss the letter with NewsChannel 7 Tuesday.

For coverage of Guild's since-voided suspension in Weston, click here.