After reading a recent news article about the release of Weston Administrator Dan Guild’s personnel review, it is clear to me that the Village of Weston Board has a problem. It is a tendency to act regarding its administrator without securing professional help or advice. This is a fact that should be apparent to anyone who has been following the story and is aware of the contents of other contradictory documents.
In its July 2017 review of Daniel Guild, the board choose to allow hearsay and unsubstantiated statements from anonymous and possibly disgruntled individual into his performance review. For example, statements asserting that Mr. Guild only spent 10 hours per week in his office are flatly denied by Guild and even the most cursory fact-finding by the board would likely have revealed them to be false. To the contrary, Guild’s work ethic is well-known in the village and has been reflected in the many supportive comments and letters since his suspension. In further testament to that fact, I am attaching a summary of some of Guild’s many accomplishments in Weston (below).
Like with the personnel review, the village board chose to suspend Guild for 30 working days (six weeks) without consulting with an attorney first and without providing Guild with an explanation, without providing due process, and without even trying to have a back-and-forth discussion to resolve matters before it blossomed into a very public confrontation.
But, perhaps the village board already knew the statements lacked merit. What other explanation could there be for the board voting to give Guild a raise in July of 2017 after the review and back-dating it to January 1st? Then, once again, the board voted to give Guild another raise in February of 2018 and voted to renew his contract. It’s hard to reconcile the statements in the review with the actions of the board. The public deserves to know whether their elected representatives have done their due diligence in reviewing Guild’s performance or not.
If the village board did not know then that the hearsay statements lacked substantiation, they certainly should know that now. A letter from Weston’s department heads to the village board dated May 23, 2018, directly challenged the negative rumors they were hearing about Guild and wondered out-loud about what credible source could be behind the rumors. The letter goes on to give a very different description of their daily interaction with Guild, including a ringing endorsement of his leadership.
Now, after its most recent meeting, the village board said it expects Guild to return to his position on July 12th and resume work. However, the release of these unsubstantiated statements has caused material damage to Guild’s professional reputation. Why would he want to stay?
The village board needs to think things through and be honest with the public about their end game. Are they just planning to batter Guild with fines and abuse until he leaves? Is it the board’s intent to create an opening for Wally Sparks to become village administrator? Because after the public mistreatment of Guild, it is hard to believe that any other quality candidates will apply.
Keene Winters, Wausau
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