A Vilas County committee voted 3-2 last week following an investigation into an ethics complaint that  found “no corroborating evidence” that would prompt further proceedings.

The administrators of seven county departments filed a memorandum to the Vilas County Executive & Legislative Committee Aug. 10, alleging five areas of concern against a county employee.

Though handled in closed session, a source who asked to remain anonymous identified all seven people involved in the dispute.

The complaint was filed by Susan Richmond of the Aging & Disability Resource Center, Beth Soltow of the Clerk of Court office, Carolyn Scholl of the Land & Water department, Dawn Schmidt of Zoning department, Kate Gardner of Social Services department, Laurel Dreger of Public Heath department and Cindy Burzinski of Tourism department, the source said.

It was filed against county Human Resource Director Richard Kipley, alleging “demeaning and condescending” comments were made to female department heads who were referred to as “queens” by the director, the source said. The administrators said it created the impression he does not respect the abilities of female department heads.

The complaint also alleges  that Kipley accepted his position at a lower salary than his predecessor and is alleged to have used that to deny employees reclassification and salary increases.

The complaint also noted a reclassification requires a higher level of responsibilities or new job duties and it alleges Kipley had one of his major duties, payroll, reassigned to the finance director in another department.

The complainants said they have found Kipley to be unresponsive to the hiring crisis faced by the county departments and he leaves hiring issues up to the department heads with  no constructive response from him.

They said Kipley shows no indication of active efforts to recruit qualified individuals. They said he posts job openings on the county website which “seems ineffective and has been unresponsive to the need to retain good staff.” They stated all efforts to recognize and show appreciation to staff have become nonexistent.

The memorandum from the sources ends with the seven administrators indicating the issues need to be resolved to enable them to  serve the people of Vilas County in the manner to which they are accustomed.

Kipley was asked by the News-Review to comment on the complaint.

“Since I?am not aware of any details of any proceedings of the Executive and Legislative Committee, I do not have any comments,” Kipley wrote in an email.

Vilas County Corporation Counsel John Albert also did not comment on the committee’s action.

Committee members voting for the motion that found “no corroborating evidence” of the ethics complaint were supervisors Chuck Hayes, Mike Cady and Jay Verhulst, with supervisors Walt Maciag and Joe Wildcat Sr. voting against the motion. 



News-Review Editor Gary Ridderbusch contributed to this article.