Council Letter-City Manager
November 7, 2019
In August, four Dubuque city council members wanted to fire the city manager for his handling of sexual harassment complaints, among other reasons. The information is in documents council member Jake Rios shared with our coverage partner KCRG-TV9 this week. The letter is signed by Rios, Brett Shaw, Luis Del Toro, and Kate Larson. Larson has since resigned, Rios did not seek re-election, and Del Toro lost his council seat, leaving only Shaw on the council in January 2020 when new members take their seats. In the seven-page letter, the four council members list more than a dozen concerns with Mike Van Milligen’s leadership. Rios said the most troubling is how the city manager handled a Dubuque police Captain’s complaints of sexual harassment. The council members’ letter claims Van Milligen asked the council to approve a new police captain’s position in February 2018, specifically to appease Abigail Simon. According to the letter, Van Milligen handed out a paper memo to the council explaining why he wanted to create this new position. However, it was seven months after the council approved the new captain’s position, that Van Milligen informed the staff about Simon’s pending lawsuit. The council members also included quotes from city employee evaluations of the city manager. Those quotes highlight concerns about how Van Milligen treats female employees.