***For and Update on Common Council’s decision on disciplinary action click here
Today we have an update on discipline and possible censure against 10th District Alderperson Rhieanna Gabriel due to inappropriate conduct. Through an open records request, Seehafer News has learned the inappropriate conduct involves questionable contact with a Manitowoc City employee. Several incidents involving Gabriel and a male employee date back to 2016. In August of 2016, the new employee spoke with the City Attorney about possibly accepting a gratuity from Gabriel as she had dropped by his residence and gave him a 6-pack of beer. The City Attorney advised at the time, an employee can NOT accept the beer as a co-worker situation, but since she had welcomed him to the neighborhood, it could be accepted as a friendly gesture. Records indicate Manitowoc Alderperson Rheanna Gabriel stopped by the City employee’s residence several times including October of 2017, January of 2018 and again on April 13th at times with beer.
In February of 2018, Gabriel, the City Employee and the City Attorney met to discuss this behavior. Then, a second meeting with the people involved and the City Attorney happened on March 13th at which time Gabriel and the employee “Shook hands” and expressed a desire to work through this awkward situation. The next day, Gabriel sent an email to the city employee with a comment at the end stating, “I will keep this in mind for future decision making”. That is when the city employee met with The Mayor, City Attorney and another City Alderman about the situation.
Alderperson Rhieanna Gabriel was questioned by Police on April 16th and was asked if she had ever dropped off beer at the employee’s residence, she responded “I can’t remember”. The officer continued to ask questions about the situation when Gabriel asked “if this was really the best use of taxpayer’s dollars” the officer explained to her he was assigned to investigate so he’s doing his job. As the conversation continued, Gabriel avoided answering questions.
On April 19th, a written warning for disorderly conduct and a written warning for loitering and prowling was issued to Alderperson Rhieanna Gabriel.
On Tuesday May 8th, The Manitowoc City Council’s Committee approved a motion removing or suspending Gabriel from responsibilities on standing committees she serves on and not removal from serving on the Council. In addition–Gabriel would be unable to meet with any city staff without a previously scheduled meeting and agenda.