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5/14/2010 12:55:00 PM
Counsel: County powerless in disciplining clerk of courts
Strongly worded resolution headed to county board

Joe VanDeLaarschot

Oneida County's Labor Relations and Employee Services (LRES) Committee members learned Monday there was little, if anything, they could do to discipline clerk of courts Gina Olson after it was revealed last week that she had sex multiple times in the courthouse the past several years with former Oneida County sheriff's deputy Steve Ramm.

The committee met for an emergency meeting Monday morning to discuss the issue behind closed doors.

In an Oneida County Sheriff's Department report, Olson and Ramm stated the incidents occurred while Ramm was on duty and during courthouse business hours.

Last week, county judges Mark Mangerson and Patrick O'Melia announced they had issued an oral reprimand to Olson for her conduct, but decided against terminating her.

Ramm resigned from his post in March under threat of termination after the sheriff's department had learned of the matter and began an internal investigation.

The committee requested county coordinator John Potters write a resolution for full county board approval detailing the county's unhappiness with the discipline ordered by the judges.

Potters said county corporation counsel Brian Desmond told the committee the judges, because they oversee the clerk, are the only officials who could fire Olson, but had decided not to do that.

"She is protected by the constitutional powers of her office," said Potters.

Potters said the committee directed him to draft a strongly-worded resolution and indicate that if she had been a regular county employee when the incidents occurred the committee could have taken far more severe action, including termination.

The resolution will be reviewed by the county's labor attorney, John Prentice, and placed on the agenda for the county board's May 19 meeting.

County board chairman Ted Cushing, who also serves on the LRES committee, said the resolution will also state that if the county had the power to impose discipline on Olson, "we would have settled for nothing less than her resignation or her termination."

Cushing expressed severe frustration with the county's inability, due to state statutes, to do anything else regarding Olson. He said he also believes "every single supervisor down the line will vote in favor of the resolution" rebuking Olson.

Cushing also said that to the best of his knowledge, "no one from the county has asked her (Olson) to resign." Potters also gave the same answer when asked the same question.

Records request

The Lakeland Times learned of Ramm's forced resignation instead of termination in April and filed an open records request with the sheriff's department seeking copies of all records and reports connected with any discipline ordered for Ramm. Details of the long ongoing affair between Ramm and Olson were provided in the records The Times received May 7.

The documents received by The Times indicated that Ramm and Olson on occasion had sex in a closet in a security office in the courthouse during the noon hour. One report stated that Olson told investigators that she "did have sexual activity with Ramm in the sally port that did not include intercourse."

One of the reports quoted Olson as telling investigators that she had sexual intercourse or relations with deputy Ramm while he was on duty at somewhere under 20 times.

When he was questioned, Ramm told investigators he believed he could have had sexual intercourse or relations with Olson at least 20 to 25 times - many of those times in the courthouse with a few of times after 4:30. Some encounters were also at Olson's home near the end of his shift at about 7:15 p.m. Both told investigators they never had sex in a department squad car, but Ramm had driven a marked squad car on the occasions they had sex at her home.

Ramm also told investigators he believed he had oral sex in the security office with Olson about 20 times both during the noon hour or after the courthouse closed but in the court security office.

According to the report, Ramm said that typically they would engage in sexual activity in the security office and the restroom off of the Branch I jury room.

Still on the books

While researching this story The Lakeland Times discovered that adultery is still considered a felony in Wisconsin.

The crime of adultery can only occur if one (or both) of the parties involved in the extra-marital affair are married to another person. Under Wisconsin law, if a married person has sexual intercourse with a person who is not their spouse, both parties commit adultery.

District attorney Michael Bloom said that a case of adultery has not been prosecuted in Oneida County for at least the last 16 years he has been around.

The penalty for the Class I felony is a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to 3 1⁄2 years or both.

But no one, as far as The Lakeland Times could determine, has been prosecuted for adultery in Wisconsin for at least two decades.

Judge's file

The Lakeland Times made an open records request to see all documents judge Mangerson had in his possession regarding the investigation by he and judge Patrick O'Melia.

The file contained a letter Mangerson had sent to attorney general J.B. Van Hollen requesting a ruling on who had jurisdiction over supervising Olson and who had the authority to mete out punishment.

The reply from the attorney general's office stated that the judges had authority over Olson.

Also in the file was a copy of a letter sent by one of Olson's employees in the clerk of courts office.

The letter was written by Bonnie Tillman who is supervised by Olson.

She urged the attorney general to support Olson "and the constituents of Oneida County by not letting this situation go to a public hearing or cause the resignation of Gina Olson."

Earlier in the letter Tillman wrote, "an unhappy individual is trying to cause Gina to lose her job as clerk of courts. I would hope that you review the facts presented to you by the Honorable Mark Mangerson, you would see this attempt to oust Gina for what it is, a unhappy individual acting out with scorn and vindictiveness."

The reply from the attorney general's office with the requested opinion was issued three days after Tillman's letter to Van Hollen.

On Tuesday, the day after the local judges issued their reprimand of Olson, she called in sick and was not at work.

Joe VanDeLaarschot can be reached at jvandelaarschot@lakelandtimes.com.

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010
Article comment by: Cheryl

"an unhappy individual is trying to cause Gina to lose her job as clerk of courts." Hell yeah, I'd be on that bandwagon too.

Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010
Article comment by: Joyce Brown

STOP! Why in the world is this the headline in your online newspaper. This is beyond believable that you would vilify these people. I can't imagine why anyone needs to know where and how many and what type of sex they had. This only panders to your own prurient nature. There is such a thing as too much information! Do you honestly enjoy ruining these peoples and their family's lives? I don't know these people, but they surely have parents, spouses, brothers and sisters and CHILDREN. Does this really need to be written online and in a public newspaper? Have you never made a mistake? Your paper has become so sanctimonious as to be almost unreadable.

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