‘Workplace culture’ cited in departure to Baraboo
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander street superintendent Tony Gilman has resigned after more than 19 years as a city employee to become Baraboo’s street superintendent.
“I believe Rhinelander, my hometown, possesses a wealth of potential under the right circumstances and I always wanted to be a part of that positive change,” Gilman said in his resignation letter to Mayor Dick Johns dated May 17 and received May 22 by interim city administrator Keith Kost. “Unfortunately, I do not believe that potential will be easily achievable with our current workplace culture.
“I believe any community, including Rhinelander, can only reach its potential with positive efforts towards teamwork, proper leadership in place, and accountability by its staff. Unfortunately, I believe those qualities to be lacking by some within our organization.”
When reached for comment Tuesday, Gilman declined to elaborate on the statements made in his resignation letter. However, he has had a rocky relationship with public works director Tim Kingman, Gilman’s direct supervisor, with that relationship having generated heated discussion at some city committee meetings in recent months when the issue of the city’s organizational chart was brought up.
In late 2015, then-city administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner had temporarily placed herself, instead of Kingman, as the direct supervisor of Gilman and water superintendent Tom Roeser.
The two City Council members who voted last August against terminating Aschenbrenner as city administrator, Tom Gleason and Steve Sauer, were praised by name as was Johns in Gilman’s resignation letter.
Though Gilman’s resignation is effective June 2, he noted he is no longer on the job in Rhinelander and plans to begin the position in Baraboo on June 19.
Gilman said becoming the street superintendent in Baraboo, which he described as a “lateral movement,” interested him because of the emphasis that city has placed on teamwork with a position that will have about the same number of co-workers as in Rhinelander.
“It is a good opportunity for me,” he said.
Gilman said he is excited about the position he will be starting in Baraboo after having “poured my heart” into working in Rhinelander.
“I’m not leaving here angry by any means,” he said.
When Kingman was reached for comment about Gilman resigning, Kingman said he wished Gilman well in the position in Baraboo.
“He did good work for the city (of Rhinelander) for many years,” Kingman said.
When asked about statements Gilman made in the resignation letter, Kingman said he thought those statements reflected how Gilman felt, though Kingman didn’t elaborate on their working relationship.
Kingman said he expects the matter of Gilman’s resignation will be on next month’s Public Works Committee agenda as options are being looked at for staffing with the street superintendent position being vacant.