Trempealeau D.A. responds to calls for his resignation - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Trempealeau D.A. responds to calls for his resignation

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Whitehall, WI (WXOW) - -

Trempealeau County Board Chair Dick Miller asked for District Attorney Taavi McMahon's resignation on December 5. McMahon held a press conference for the public on Wednesday afternoon just one day after he announced he will not resign.

McMahon describes the situation with the Trempealeau County Board as a "mud-slinging fight." He said board members have spent recent months looking for evidence of any wrongdoing in the District Attorney's office to throw into the public eye and see if it sticks.

He says the bold assertions started with one incident in September after the death of Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox.

"I informed my staff that I would be closing the office in honor of Gerald Fox," McMahon said. "We met at 9 a.m. I gave them two options. One option was to attend the funeral. The other option was to work remotely. One of my staff did not like that option."

According to McMahon, a member of Human Resources put that employee on paid administrative leave without his consent.

"This came as some shock to me, because I was her supervisor, her employer, and as a District Attorney, I am charged with managing my office," he said.

While trying to contact this employee, McMahon says he got a visit from Dick Miller.

"Mr. Miller came to my office and talk about this personnel issue. I said right now there are lawyers involved and probably we shouldn't talk about it, so we talked about other things," McMahon said. "We had what I would describe as an incredibly cordial conversation."

That conversation was followed by county board criticism of McMahon's personnel management and spending habits. Board members even accused McMahon of being dishonest.

"What I can tell you is that I never lied to the court. I try to maintain the highest ethical standards throughout my career, and lying to the court is something every attorney knows is not something we can do," McMahon said.

McMahon takes pride in the strong justice programs in Trempealeau County.

"We are devoted to the efficient administration of justice," he said. "We are committed to evidence-based practice."

In his opinion, board members do not have the authority to call for his resignation.

"I'm very sorry that the county board is taking the positions that they are taking. I think that what they need to remember is that I was elected by the people of Trempealeau County to serve the people of Trempealeau County," said McMahon. "I answer to the people of Trempealeau County. I do not answer to the county board. I do not answer to their committees."

The District Attorney praises his staff for continuing to carry out public safety in the midst of the allegations.

The Trempealeau County Board sent two letters about McMahon's performance to Governor Walker. He said he did not know about the letters ahead of time and has been kept out of the loop in recent months. He claims that board members often hold conversations about him in closed session meetings.

McMahon said the first letter to Governor Walker did get a response. He said the Chief Counsel for the Governor said he will not take action at this time. McMahon hopes to continue working with board members to find a resolution without going to court.

Dick Miller referred News 19 to the County Attorney for comment. He said McMahon did not share all of the information in Wednesday's conference. He said he is working with board members to form a formal response.

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