NWTC to investigate employee's campaign email

Mario Ricketts celebrating Go Skateboarding Day at Joannes Park in Green Bay.

GREEN BAY - Northeast Wisconsin Technical College says it plans to investigate one of its own.

An electrical apprentice instructor is accused of sending an e-mail to all NWTC faculty members about a lunch campaign fundraiser. The lunch was for Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke.

An employee of NWTC told administration they heard on the radio that one of their colleagues may have misused the school's e-mail system. The e-mail in question was sent to WTAQ radio host Jerry Bader.

“This is a personnel issue, so we are going to handle this the same way we handle all of our personnel issues, following our policies in our personnel handbook,” said Karen Smits, the vice president of college advancement.

The employee is accused of sending out two e-mails with the subject "Lunch at BLUE with Mary Burke." In one of the e-mails he wrote, “I know they will also be raising funds for her campaign against Walker so please plan accordingly.”

“I don't want to speak on his behalf, but it is clear that this was something that is in violation of our policy,” said Smits. “We will deal with it.”

Smits says the employee's email potentially goes against the college's code of conduct.

Smits also shared an e-mail with FOX 11 that was sent to faculty in November 2011, as the recall election was being launched against Governor Walker. Part of it reads, "College property, supplies, equipment and systems may not be used in connection with any type of political campaigning.”

Chris Sampson at UW-Green Bay says the UW System sends out similar e-mails as election season approaches.

“All the UW System schools pretty much follow the UW System guidelines,” said Sampson. “They are six pages long and they cover just about every eventuality.”

There is state law restricting political solicitation involving public officials and employees. A spokesperson for the Government Accountability Board declined FOX 11's request for an interview. The spokesperson said the board can't comment on any case that might end up going before them.

NWTC has not spoken to the employee in question yet. He hasn't been at the college since it was made aware of the e-mail.

FOX 11 has decided to not share the employee's name. FOX 11 was unable to reach him for comment.