Wausau Pilot & Review

An outside investigation into social media posts by Marathon County Clerk Kim Trueblood determined the county’s top elections official did not commit misconduct in office, according to county documents released this week.

The same investigation determined there is a basis for potential censure connected to Marathon County’s core values and ethics policy. The investigation is now closed.

Members of the Marathon County Board’s Executive Committee on Oct. 8 reviewed the full report, which concluded that Trueblood’s social media posts were made on personal time and did not constitute misconduct in office.

An investigation was authorized in August after Trueblood, on social media, offered to “to work behind the scenes” to promote school board recall efforts. Trueblood was part of a “Parents for Wausau Schools Reopening” Facebook group that called for protests and recalls after the Wausau School Board voted to begin the fall semester virtually. In group posts that have since been removed, Trueblood acknowledged her role as an elections official but offered to aid in a possible recall.

That offer prompted Wausau School Board President Tricia Zunker, acting as a private citizen, to request an ethics investigation. Zunker, a Democrat, is also a candidate for the U.S. 7th Congressional District.

The Executive Committee wrote that Trueblood “understands” that her words “could have been interpreted” in a way that could cause people to “question the integrity” of elections in Marathon County.

As the county’s chief elections official, Trueblood is responsible for appointing, recruiting, and training election workers and overseeing ballots, voting equipment, and polling places. When citizens submit petitions to recall a public official, or an initiative for the ballot, the clerk handles the documents in accordance with state and federal law.

In a statement released Monday, Trueblood pledged to work with the County Board to maintain confidence in the elections process and took full responsibility for her comments and “choice of language.”