Infighting At City Hall Dominates Wausau Mayoral Debate

Kronenwetter Challenges Council President Mielke Over Ethics Complaint

Wausau mayoral candidates
Wausau mayoral candidates, left to right, Jay Kronenwetter, Robert Mielke. Waed Guesmi/WPR

Problems in Wausau city government were a theme during a debate between mayoral candidates on Monday night.

It was the first question in the debate: how to restore civility after a confrontation between an alderman and a department head that led to two grievances, an outside investigation and now an ethics complaint against one of the candidates, City Council President Robert Mielke. Attorney Jay Kronenwetter said new leadership is needed.

“We need a culture change in city hall,” Kronenwetter said. “The man seated to my left has been the president of our council, during the period where things have descended into a food fight.”

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Mielke said the investigation he authorized was necessary.

“Sometimes in life you cannot work with everybody,” Mielke said. “I had to protect a city employee, who filed a work grievance. I had to protect the city itself from liability.”

Alderman Keene Winters, who filed the ethics complaint, came in third in the Wausau primary. Current Mayor James Tipple chose not to run for reelection as mayor..

Wausau residents will select a mayor April 5.

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