MINOCQUA (WAOW) – The Town of Minocqua has agreed to pay a veteran police department worker $120,000 to settle a discrimination complaint.
Julie Mager worked as an administrative assistant in the police department, starting in 2005, before a dispute about 30 minutes of overtime pay with Chief Andrew Gee last March led her to accuse him of harassment and intimidation, according to records released by the town Friday.
The chief accused Mager of trying to “cheat” the town and he reduced the overtime request, suspended her, placed her on administrative leave with pay and began the process of firing her, the records said.
In the dispute, there was yelling, with Mager asking the chief, “Why are you such a bully?” the records said.
The chief accused Mager of violating work rules and an employee code of conduct, the records said.
Mager filed a discrimination complaint with the state Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division, alleging she was discriminated against for standing up for “her wage and hour rights,” the records said.
The town board agreed to the settlement on Tuesday, which included about $30,000 in attorney fees, in the “interests of the town,” in part because of costs to fight the claim and to “promote morale in the police department,” the board said in a statement.
The settlement, which called for Mager to resign Oct. 2, includes a letter of recommendation to future employers for her from Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim.
“She is a hard worker, detail oriented and possesses an exceptional ability to multi-task and perform duties with efficiency and prioritization,” Hartzheim wrote. “Julie has been an asset to the Town of Minocqua.”
Gee declined comment Friday, saying he could not comment on a personnel issue.
Mager did not immediately return a telephone message left at her Woodruff home.
Mager's attorney, Brian Formella, said she is pursuing other employment opportunities.
“It is a rather reflective time for Julie,” he said. “She has left a job that she truly enjoyed and at which she performed well. She will miss her fellow workers most of all and the public whom she served.”