By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A Wausau committee formed by Mayor Rob Mielke to promote inclusivity and diversity in Wausau is down to four members including one city council representative.
The committee, whose members are hand-picked by Mielke and approved by the city council, aims to encourage a welcoming and diverse Wausau and is to be made up of one council member and seven community members. Council members in April approved the committee and its members by a vote of 7-3. Tom Neal, who represents Dist. 4, is the council representative on the committee.
Blake Opal-Wahoske, Paige Heinrich, Tony Gonzalez, Fong Moua, David Deon Stuart and Tom Rau were originally chosen as members. But Stuart was asked to step down by the mayor days after the appointment amid questions over his past criminal history.
Days later, Moua withdrew from the committee, citing time constraints, Mielke said.
Now, another member has stepped away from the group, which met for the first time this week.
“Due to time issues because of being so busy with interpreting, Tony Gonzalez stepped down,” Mielke wrote, in an email to Wausau Pilot and Review.
Mielke said four new candidates are interested in joining the now all-white committee. All potential members are subject to council approval.
The mayor said members were chosen because they have been involved in community and diversity issues in the past.