By Shereen Siewert

The chief executive officer of North Central Health Care in Wausau was placed on administrative leave following a closed session meeting Thursday, Wausau Pilot & Review was first to report on Tuesday.

Before North Central Health Care issued formal comment, three separate sources confirmed CEO Michael Loy’s leave, which appears connected to an independent counsel’s report on the organization.

The North Central Community Program Services Board on Thursday met in open session, then entered into closed session for “considering employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data of any public employee over which the governmental body has jurisdiction or exercises responsibility,” the agenda states.

The agenda also points to two additional legal provisions that allow a closed session: “deliberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session,” and “conferring with legal counsel for the governmental body who is rendering oral or written advice concerning strategy to be adopted by the body with respect to litigation in which it is or is likely to become involved.”

The closed session was related to a report on the organization and certain benefits granted some NCHC employees, county documents state.

Immediately after the NCCPS Board meeting, the Executive Committee of the North Central Community Services Program Board met and again went into closed session. Closed session minutes are not public record, but Wausau Pilot & Review has requested all open session minutes from those meetings.

Marathon County Administrator Lance Leonhard did not confirm Loy’s leave but deferred questions to Marathon County Board Chair Kurt Gibbs. Gibbs did not respond to emails and messages seeking comment for this story.

After this story was published, NCHC officials released a statement confirming Loy is on paid administrative leave. Chief Financial Officer Jill Meschke is acting as interim CEO. Following the closed session meeting Thursday, the NCCSP board authorized the Executive Committee to take “further appropriate action based on the guidance of the full NCCSP board in closed session.”

On January 28 and February 12, 2021, the NCCSP Board authorized a third-party review of NCHC’s practices relative to compensation and benefits received by employees, the NCHC release stated. The review was conducted by von Briesen & Roper, S.C., Attorneys at Law of Milwaukee.

Details of the final report have not yet been released.

Loy spent three years as human resources director for the city of Wausau before joining NCHC in 2014, first as human resources executive and later as CEO. He was promoted to his most recent role in 2017.