By Roger Utnehmer
The Sturgeon Bay City Council put off discussing the employment status of City Administrator Josh VanLieshout for at least two weeks.
Council Member Kelly Catarozoli asked that VanLieshout’s position, contract and terms of employment be put on Tuesday’s agenda and said earlier she would introduce a motion to terminate his employment.
The meeting started with Catarozoli asking that, out of respect for VanLieshout and his family, the discussion be held in closed session. Her motion carried with all council members with the exception of David Ward voting for the delay. That means the action is put off until the next council meeting on August 7.
Several speakers supported VanLieshout, including his wife, Teri, who said people on both sides have behaved badly and need to stop.
VanLieshout’s performance was also criticized. Hans Christian said he filed a formal complaint against VanLieshout Monday.
According to Christian, VanLieshout has not responded to council members in a timely manner. Christian also accused VanLieshout of undermining efforts to develop a $10 million performing arts facility on the west side waterfront.
Mayor Thad Birmingham defended VanLieshout, saying he is not aware of any investigation into criminal behavior or misappropriation of funds. Birmingham said he wants people to know VanLieshout has performed admirably. Birmingham also pledged to look into every grievance, including a list of complaints given to him by Council Member Laurel Hauser. He concluded by saying to VanLieshout, “My hat’s off to you.”
The council went into closed session after a two-hour open meeting to discuss pending litigation with Sturgeon Bay developer Robert Papke and The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront.