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Investigating complaints about Swanson cost more than $9,700

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – Copies of billing records obtained in an open records request by The Press Times indicate an outside investigation into complaints the Ashwaubenon Public Safety Officers’ Association made about Village Manager Allison Swanson cost more than $9,700 through the end of March.

The Ashwaubenon village board authorized the investigation Feb. 25 after meeting in closed session and agreeing to hire the von Briesen & Roper law firm to investigate complaints APSOA released Feb. 6 when it announced a vote of no confidence in Swanson.

The union’s list of complaints included 22 bullet points containing what it called a “partial list of just some of the egregious behaviors the association has witnessed.”

Some of the union’s complaints resulted in state and federal lawsuits along with labor grievances being filed on behalf of past and present union members.

Allison Swanson

Swanson responded by saying the union stated “numerous lies” to “imply illegal and unethical conduct by me.”

She accused the union of violating the village’s anti-harassment and whistleblower policy.

After receiving investigative reports provided by Jim Macy of von Briesen & Roper, the board met in closed session May 7 and directed Village Attorney Tony Wachewicz to issue a statement he released May 9 announcing the board accepted the reports’ findings and cleared Swanson of any wrongdoing or unethical conduct.

The statement indicated the board has “full faith and support in Ms. Swanson” and also quoted Macy as saying “some of the allegations are matters of opinion on political and policy matters.”

The law firm charged the village $1,111 through Feb. 29 and another $8,598 in March for the investigation, according to the billing records.

For services charged, the billing records indicate an hourly rate of $285.

Four billing entries totaled more than $1,000 each, including:

• $1,254 for 4.4 hours preparing for and conducting an internal investigation at the village March 6;

• $1,168 for 4.1 hours for preparation for and meeting at the village regarding the investigation and work on the investigation report March 11;

• $1,368 for 4.8 hours on further work on the investigation and meeting with the village March 20; and

• $1,596 for 5.6 hours on further preparation of investigation report and preparation for and meeting with the village board concerning the investigation March 24.

Two charges for traveling 92 miles to and from Ashwaubenon for client meetings March 6 and 11 totaled $105.

There was no charge for three entries in March of less than a half hour each.

Wachewicz said he expects at least one more invoice from the firm for services provided in April and May.

The Press Times also made an open records request for copies of the investigative reports, which the newspaper has not received from the village.

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