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Council meets on suit against City
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MONROE - The Monroe City Council and Mayor Ron Marsh met for about 30 minutes in closed session Tuesday to confer with City Attorney Rex Ewald about the sexual harassment case of former employee Janelle Bittner against the City of Monroe.

Aldermen Keith Ingwell and Thurston Hanson were not present at the roll call before the meeting into executive session.

None of the aldermen, Ewald nor Marsh would comment following the meeting.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has scheduled a hearing in the case for March 27 in the Green County Courthouse.

Bittner first contacted the department's Equal Rights Division on May 1, 2008, alleging employment discrimination.

The Division has found reason to believe there is sufficient information to hold the administrative hearing. An administrative law judge will conduct the hearing and decide whether the city violated the Wisconsin Fair Employment law.

The Division determined the case must be resolved through a formal hearing.

Depositions were taken at the end of January, and will be submitted as evidence at the hearing.

Bittner began working for the city on May 21, 2007, as a confidential administrative assistant.

Her complaint alleges sexual harassment in the workplace, retaliation for opposing discrimination and constructive discharge.

During her employment, Bittner alleges that Mark Vahlsing, the city administrator at the time and her supervisor, engaged in inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature on several occasions. Bittner describes the incidents, beginning December 2007 until April 2008, in her complaint.

Vahlsing and the council terminated his position as administrator about two weeks after Bittner filed her complaint.

The city denies Vahlsing harassed Bittner.