By Brandi Makuski
A lawyer who represents Portage Co. on a full-time basis has filed a discrimination complaint against County Executive Patty Dreier.
Mike McKenna, Portage Co. corporate counsel, filed the complaint with state and federal entities in August. The complaints, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Dept. of Workforce Development allege Dreier violated state law by discriminating against McKenna due to his age and veteran status. McKenna is a retired colonel of the Wisconsin National Guard.
In his complaint, McKenna alleged Dreier attempted to force his resignation so he could be replaced with someone younger and less expensive. McKenna earns $97,215 a year in his position as the county’s lawyer.
The county’s human resources committee discussed the case during a closed session on Oct. 29 but so far have declined comment. McKenna’s office has also declined comment. A call to Dreier’s office was not immediately returned.
McKenna has been the county’s corp. counsel since 1998. He also is running for a full term as the city’s municipal court judge, a post to which he was appointed last April. That position is part-time and earns $12,000 a year.
In a copy of the complaint obtained by City Times staff this week, McKenna alleged Dreier “harasses, intimidates, and discriminates against certain employees she supervises over the age of 40 to replace them with younger and more inexpensive employees of her choice.”
In his complaint, McKenna compiled a list of eight department heads over the age of 40 he says were pushed out of their jobs by harassing and intimidating behavior by Dreier. He also alleges several major concerns within county government which have gone unchecked by Dreier’s office.
“In a nutshell favoritism runs rampant under Ms. Dreier,” the complaint reads. “Many serious county problems and issues are ignored, glosses over and misrepresented.”
Among the list of problems, according to McKenna’s complaint, are “huge” budget overruns, lack of employee training, “ongoing crises” regarding facilities infrastructure, “massive” employee morale issues and jail suicides and other issues.
*This story is ongoing. Check back for updates.