Appointment subject to offer of employment being finalized
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The finalist appointed Monday morning as Rhinelander’s next police chief wants to return to the city’s police department after having left there to work for the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office.
After meeting in closed session for about two hours, Rhinelander’s Police and Fire Commission announced its selection of sheriff’s office captain Lloyd Gauthier as police chief.
“The commission has a job to do to find the best police chief,” Gauthier said. “They went through that process, and whatever their decision was, I was going to honor that.”
Gauthier was one of two finalists interviewed Monday morning along with Rhinelander police captain Ron Lueneburg, who has been the city’s interim police chief for the past six months after Michael Steffes resigned from the position after more than nine years on the job to begin a position with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
“Ron was very close (to being appointed the permanent police chief), he did a great job as acting chief,” said commission chairman Todd McEldowney. “We just thought that the leadership that Lloyd brought was something that we could not overlook, and we thought he was just the better candidate of the two.”
Gauthier was the second person appointed as police chief since Steffes resigned. Commission members March 16 had appointed another finalist, Dave Funkhouser, who has been city of Kiel’s chief since 2005, but Funkhouser then decided last month against becoming Rhinelander’s police chief after not finalizing an offer of employment with the City Council.
Commission members are authorized to select the police chief without approval of the City Council, which is responsible for finalizing the compensation package for the person named chief to accept. The position had been posted with a tentative annual salary range of between $79,000 and $85,500.
The city’s Finance Committee has a closed session on its agenda Tuesday to discuss/approve an offer of employment for the police chief. If agreed to, an employment offer could go to the full City Council for final approval at the council’s May 8 meeting.