Karger to board: "I think you should consider a separation agreement"
WAUSAU (WAOW) - Before the Marathon County Board refused to reconsider his suspension for his role in a rally and march supporting teen killer Dylan Yang, County Administrator Brad Karger said it may be time for him to step aside.
"I think you should consider a separation agreement," Karger told the board Thursday in a seven-minute presentation in which he outlined the situation as either the county board supports him going forward or it doesn't.
"If I have lost confidence of the board, I think you should consider negotiating with me something that provides me financial security going forward and also provides you a full release of all the claims," he said.
The board then voted 17 to 15 against a motion to reconsider his 30-day suspension and requirements that he begin trying to repair relationships within the county.
"People were passionate on both sides of the discussion," Board Chairman Curt Gibbs said.
Karger came under fire after the rally from Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel and Sheriff Scott Parks who were critical of racial and anti-police tones that they claimed Karger seemed to endorse. The county board voted 30 to 5 to suspend him without pay, prompting some people to sign petitions asking the board to reconsider that move.
That led to Thursday's emotional, more than four-hour meeting.
Karger said he joined the rally in downtown Wausau in May because Yang "belongs in the juvenile justice system, which while far from perfect, will treat him like a 16-year-old child, a child who made not one but a series of terrible mistakes," according an email he sent Hardel.
A jury convicted Yang in adult court of first-degree reckless homicide for the stabbing death of another teen after a confrontation in a downtown Wausau neighborhood last year. The conviction carries up to a 60-year prison sentence. He is to be sentenced Sept. 6.
If he had been prosecuted in juvenile court and found delinquent, the punishments would be far less severe.
Karger, who has worked for the county for 28 years, told the board Thursday that he has spoken with a "constitutional" attorney regarding his free speech rights being violated but has not hired an attorney to challenge his suspension.
A financial settlement for Karger to step aside would involve "sticker shock," Karger said. "The advantage would be a fresh start for me that would be somewhere else and you could move on."