Ethical dilemma for Wausau leaders - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ethical dilemma for Wausau leaders


After calls for action concerning the Wausau Ethics Board, Mayor Jim Tipple tells Newsline 9 he's listening and in the process of doing something about it.

A list of Wausau Ethics Board members is on the city's web site. After digging deeper, Newsline 9 found out two members have actually passed away.

In fact, the board is not active and hasn't been since 2005. While Mayor Tipple says he's not in a rush to fill those seats, he says it's on his radar.

The board that takes up complaints about Wausau city officials has not been called upon in the last seven years. That's because there haven't been any complaints for it to review.

The Wausau Ethics Board is a committee made up of five community members. Some city council members are pushing to bring it back.

"I think we should have an ethics board for citizens to take their complaints to," Wausau City Council Alderman Keene Winters said.

Winters is an alderman representing Wausau's 6th district. He says the ethics board should be revived and reformed.

"I would like to have them in place to give us advice about policies and procedures that would improve compliance with ethics within the city," Winters told Newsline 9.

"I intend to look at that and fill the members," Mayor Tipple said.

Winters says the actions that led to the council giving $25,000 to a non profit organization is really what pushed his effort. 

According to the city's web site, ethics board members are appointed by the mayor. Those members are volunteers, serving five year terms.

"Board members continue to serve, even though they have expired terms until you re-appoint someone, replacing them or re-appoint them to fulfill their existing position," Tipple told Newsline 9.

Joe Hoppa is on the ethics board and says there's value in the group.

"I feel that we have a limited roll somewhat, but it was important because we were objective and we have to come up with a finding," Hoppa said.

The mayor did not give a timeline for appointing members. But said there is no big rush to do so.

"I think it's kind of a waste of time to fill positions and ask people to commit and you don't need them," the mayor told Newsline 9.

Tipple says the board can become active when needed.

We checked around with five other communities to see if ethics boards were in place. Wisconsin Rapids is the only other one that does.

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