By Shereen Siewert
The Marathon County Library Board of Trustees on Thursday accepted the resignation of its library director after an investigation into improper workplace behavior and a hostile work environment.
Ralph Illick resigned roughly one week after the board voted to place him on unpaid leave, action prompted by a report conduced by an outside law firm. Milwaukee-based von Briesen and Roper prepared the report, which county officials are so far declining to release.
On Monday, Deputy Corporation Counsel Michael Puerner declined a Wausau Pilot & Review request for the report, citing specific exceptions to Wisconsin’s open records law.
“In this case, the records you seek are part of an ongoing review that will assist the Library Board in deciding issues regarding performance evaluation,” Puerner said.
Business manager Tom O’Neill and library support services manager Matthew Derpinghaus were also placed on unpaid leave May 19 following a closed session meeting. Their futures with the library are unclear.
Puerner told Wausau Pilot & Review on Thursday that the Library Board directed the Marathon County employee resources director to “take appropriate action, and that portion of the investigation remains ongoing.”
The Library Board requested an update on the action taken to be provided at their next meeting, which set for June 21.
County officials have not detailed the allegations against the three employees entail. But several past and current employees have come forward, describing a hostile work environment marked by harassment and bullying.
Leah Giordano, Library Services Manager, is acting as interim director.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information is released.