In a Rare Move, a Kenosha Council Committee Kills a Mayoral Appointment

Sept. 12, 2020 2:45p

(WGTD)---A top City of Kenosha official who retired last July is now lashing out at Mayor John Antaramian’s administration.

A seven-page email to members of the City Council from former Clerk-Treasurer Debra Salas appeared to have prompted the Council’s Finance Committee last week to kill a mayoral appointment. Mike Higgins, who once served in a combined role as Clerk, Treasurer and Assessor, was in line for a $17,000 consulting contract to help in the transition between Salas and her eventual, permanent replacement.

In her email, Salas, who recently changed her last name to Gimler, said the proposed contract was another example of gender bias against women in the city. The contract, she said, would’ve been the fourth awarded in the past two years to a retired former employee who is a white male.

At Wednesday’s committee meeting, Alderperson Holly Kangas said Gimler should’ve been approached to provide the temporary assistance. But City Administrator John Morrissey noted that Gimler was still within a 70-day window in which retired employees could not be brought back into city employment.

Gimler said she would’ve been happy to help out for free.

After Finance voted four to one to recommend against the Higgins appointment, Administration pulled it from consideration by the full council, which was scheduled to meet later in the evening.

In response to Gimler’s charges, City Administrator Morrissey denied that Higgins’ appointment had anything to do with race, age or sex, and that the acting clerk/treasurer had told him that she would’ve welcomed Higgins’ help.