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Incoming Mauston administrator admitted to stealing $1,900 from DNR

September 26, 2018

Mauston Mayor Brian McGuire shakes the hand of the newly hired city administrator Randy Reeg Sep. 11.

Incoming Mauston Administrator Randy Reeg admitted in his interviews with the Mauston Common Council to stealing $1,900 from the Department of Natural Resources, his former employer, in 2003.

Mauston Mayor Brian McGuire said Reeg brought the incident to the council’s attention during the search for the next Mauston city administrator.

“It was something that was disclosed early on,” McGuire said. “He admits that he made a mistake, and I think it was one of those things he really learned from… It’s not something that he had to tell us, but it’s something that he wanted to make sure that we were aware of.”

Reeg was hired by the Mauston Common Council at their Sep. 11 meeting in a 6-1 vote. Council Member Francis McCoy was the sole “no” vote. McCoy declined to publicly state a reason for his vote.

“It’s not something that we’re trying to hide, or want to hide,” McGuire said.

“We’re talking about events that occurred nearly 20 years ago,” Reeg said. “A measure of a person’s integrity is not that they never make mistakes, it’s that they accept responsibility for what they’ve done, learn from them, move on and grow and make sure they aren’t repeated. And I’ve done that.”

Reeg said he brought the incident to the council’s attention because he would “rather have them know now” than “have it be a surprise later on.”

Reeg declined to comment on the details of what took place with the DNR in 2003, but said it was a mistake.

“If I talk about the details, then I have to talk about the circumstances,” Reeg said. “And then I feel like I’m making excuses and trying to justify a mistake I made.”

Board members of the village of Kronenwetter offered Reeg a contract in 2009 to serve as village administrator, before they learned about him admitting to stealing from the DNR in 2003.

Although Reeg eventually withdrew his candidacy for the position, he said he does not believe the Kronenwetter board changed their minds about him because of the past incident.

“They absolutely offered me the position,” Reeg said. “It was mine to take, and I turned it down.”

By law, the board was not allowed to consider the incident when hiring. Reeg feels accepting responsibility is ultimately what is most important.

“I know that respect and trust are always earned,” Reeg said. “I have no problem coming in and earning the trust and respect of everyone in the community.”

Reeg’s first day as city administrator is Oct. 9. Reeg’s annual salary will start at $84,000. The council set the salary range for the position between $75,000 and $100,000. Mauston’s previous city administrator Nathan Thiel’s salary was about $87,000.

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