Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kraft retires as city attorney

According to emails from city manager Richard Wollangk to Oshkosh Common Council members and this report in the Oshkosh Northwestern's online version, city attorney Warren Kraft has retired. His last day was yesterday, though with a combination of severance and accrued leave his last day will officially be Jan. 2.

The timing is interesting and cause for suspicion, I think. But equally interesting is a special meeting the Common Council had Tuesday afternoon prior to its regular council meeting. The notice of the special meeting certainly suggests that the 100 block financing and Kraft's performance in that matter was a topic of discussion during that meeting and I understand James Kalny, the attorney from Green Bay which the council used in its discussions surrounding Wollangk was present for the meeting. Also interesting is councilor Tony Palmeri's withdrawal of a request for a special open meeting to discuss the financing matters of the 100 block.

I wrote yesterday that the council should ask Kraft to provide at a televised council meeting so citizens can hear it, his explanation of the 100 block financing and why his advice was what it was. We all deserve to know, too, why Kraft could not remember anything about it when asked by the Oshkosh Northwestern, but suddenly when faced with great public pressure and council questions, he is not only able to recall in specific detail, but is even able to cite an appellate court ruling to buttress his position. It has been suggested to me that he was trying to re-write history; that may not be so far from the truth.

In any event, Kraft is still on the taxpayers' dime; councilors contacted by the Northwestern still want to have a discussion of 100 block financing; and I believe he should still explain his position and advice to fellow staffers in front of the council and cameras. The public paying his salary and "retirement" benefits deserve an explanation.

P.S. Since the word "severance" was used in the Oshkosh Northwestern article, I'm just wondering how one gets severance when they voluntarily leave their position? If anyone can explain that I'd be interested to know how that's possible unless that's the way some kind of employment agreement, if one existed, was worded. I also want to thank Warren Kraft for his years of service - they weren't all marred with these kinds of issues. Here's wishing both he and Richard Wollangk the best in their future endeavors.


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