Report: Galesville council feud results in sheriff’s office response
A feud between two city officials at last month’s Galesville city council meeting ended with a response from the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office, according to a report obtained by the Times.
The report, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and received on Thursday, states that council member Tory-Kale Schulz called the sheriff’s office to file a complaint about Mayor Vince Howe at 8:49 p.m. after the Dec. 8 council meeting.
Schulz told deputy Austin Markham that he was having a conversation with city attorney Dan Arndt after the meeting when Howe struck the table with his hand and began yelling at Schulz.
Arndt had to step in and stop the argument, Schulz told the deputy.
No charges have been filed from the incident, but both Howe and Schulz expressed to law enforcement that they plan to take action.
Howe told the deputy he plans to consider a restraining order against Schulz as well as consider having a deputy on standby at meetings, while the latter said he plans to document and report Howe’s behaviors that he feels are harassment to the sheriff’s office.
“Tory stated he is the only city council member that Vincent treats this way and is unprofessional and wants something to be done,” the deputy wrote in the report. “Tory advised he has brought his concerns up to other city council members and the Galesville Police Chief but feels nothing has been done.”
Howe acknowledged the incident when confronted by the deputy, adding that Schulz was interrupting the flow of the meeting, according to the report. Howe told the deputy that there have been continuous issues with Schulz causing disruptions at meetings, the report reads.
The mayor admitted to the deputy that his behavior was unprofessional but said Schulz was also exhibiting unprofessional actions.
“I agreed both behaviors could be seen as unprofessional,” the deputy wrote in his report. “I explained there are better ways to discuss disagreements than hitting tables, yelling in people’s faces, or pushing a finger into someone’s chest.”
Both Howe and Schulz told the Times last week that they want to represent the people of Galesville but need a better working relationship.
The pair have repeatedly disagreed and been in arguments at council meetings since Schulz was elected last April.
Howe feels he is being targeted by Schulz and said the councilor doesn’t respect authority.
Schulz has cost the city a “tremendous” amount of taxpayer dollars on attorney fees related to an open meeting law concern last month, Howe said. Attorneys are paid per hour for the time they spend talking to council members, so the mayor typically asks council members to get his approval before calling, Howe said.
“He’s a guy that I really don’t care to have on the council. He’s too hard to work with,” Howe said of Schulz. “I’ve been with the city council or been mayor for 24/25 years. I have never experienced anyone like him.”
Schulz said he was never considering a harassment restraining order or charges against Howe, adding that he wants to improve his relationship with the mayor.
He said his call to the sheriff’s office was to start a paper trail to tell the mayor that his “bullying, belligerent behavior is not tolerated.”
“Despite people knowing his behavior and despite the reputation that he has nobody on the council wants to say anything to him. Nobody wants to do anything,” Schulz said.
“And this is not a good representation when you look at the ethics in our ordinance to have a government leadership that people feel is responsible to its people.”
To move forward, Schulz wants to see Howe avoid “intimidation tactics” and “bullying” actions such as yelling during council meetings. The councilor did give the mayor credit for putting all of his suggestions for council discussion on the agendas.
Schulz would also like to be reinstated to the three committees he was removed from earlier this month, saying he still hasn’t had a conversation with Howe about why he was removed. Howe told the Times Schulz was removed due to behavioral concerns.
“I would love to have a great relationship with him. I’d love to,” Schulz said. “It only improves our community when everybody’s working together.”