By Shereen Siewert

A smaller Wausau Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to proceed with an investigation of a complaint against a Wausau City Council Member accused of making false statements against a Marathon County Board member.

But the five-member group saw one resignation and one recusal from the matter. Mary Thao, a former Wausau City Council member and former Wausau School Board member who previously chaired the Ethics Board, resigned for reasons that are unclear.

Calvin Dexter recused himself based on his relationship with Harris, for whom he circulated nomination papers for the Marathon County Circuit Court judgeship race.

Vice-chair Doug Hosler took over as chair on Wednesday.

Ted Waskowski, of Stafford Rosenbaum in Madison, is working with the Ethics Board because the city attorney is mentioned in the complaint.

Harris, who represents Dist. 3 on the Marathon County Board, filed the complaint on Dec. 7 after waiting for Ryan to respond to an Aug. 17 letter he and his attorney sent. The letter asks Ryan to “make a public apology on the council floor” by Sept. 9 for “trying to interfere with (Harris’) employment,” and “making untrue statements about him…that he was inappropriately engaged in the outside practice of the law.” The letter also asks Ryan to “cease these activities in the future.”

In his complaint, Harris asks the Ethics Board to investigate Ryan’s allegation that Harris interfered inappropriately during the debate over the city’s “Community for All” diversity resolution and obstructing City Attorney Anne Jacobson.

The Ethics Board will now seek another member to replace Thao as the investigation moves forward. The group will meet again on Jan. 24.