Wausau councilwoman explains why she's on leave - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau councilwoman explains why she's on leave

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 WAUSAU (WAOW) -- A Wausau city councilwoman is on a leave of absence, partly because of the stress of the job.

Sherry Abitz is frustrated with the city's handling of the long-delayed Thomas Street improvements.

Abitz says she was in tears for two days when she decided to take a step back from the council earlier this month.

She's now in the process of trying to decide whether to return to the job and has considered resigning.

Abitz says the stress of the job gets hard, but she has personal stress too. She's taking care of her 94-year-old mother.

"I'm her full-time care and I'm up like every hour and a half to help her with her personal needs," Abitz said.

That's an important factor in her leave of absence, but there's always the Thomas Street project.

For years, the city has talked about widening it and has even purchased some properties. Still, city leaders continue to study the issue.

"It just showed how inept our council has been getting regarding Thomas Street," said Abitz.

She decided to take leave after the July 8 council meeting.

"They kept bringing up the same scenarios, the same conversations, the same issues, over and over and over again," Abitz said.

It wasn't the first time her feelings for the debate came out at a council meeting.

On April 22, Abitz challenged her fellow council members by saying, "How would you like to live on a street and not move on with your life and not be able to go forward?"

Outside the council chambers, neighbors have noticed her passion too.

"Anybody that goes by the house, she's constantly like, 'I'm trying to deal with the stress of Thomas Street,'" said neighbor Keith Spatz.

Abitz believes the council's indecision on the improvements reflects poorly on the city.

"That shows that the city of Wausau is a non-caring community if you can't even move forward," she said.

Abitz, who joined the council in 2006, says she's using her leave as a time for reflection.

"I needed to listen more to my constituents that I had here, and I needed to reevaluate if I was going to be staying on if I could do more," she said.

She's coming close to a decision.

"I'm leaning more and more that I will probably be staying on council but it depends on my mom," Abitz said.

Abitz will update Mayor Jim Tipple on her status September 1st.

Tipple told Newsline 9 that Abitz is still attending some meetings and he looks forward to having her back.
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