Lake Delton public safety director reinstated months after accusations of discrimination

Village says investigation concluded he "did not engage in conduct or a pattern of conduct that would warrant disciplinary action"
Daniel Hardman
WISC-TV/Channel3000 file photo.

LAKE DELTON, Wis. — Lake Delton’s director of public safety has been reinstated months after the union representing the village’s paramedics made a vote of no confidence in his leadership following multiple allegations that he made inappropriate comments.

Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Daniel Hardman was put on paid administrative leave in February after members of IAFF Local 5026 issued a vote of no-confidence against him, alleging he made numerous homophobic jokes, racial slurs and sexist comments.

In a news release Tuesday, Lake Delton officials said the village board voted unanimously to reinstate Hardman effective immediately.

According to the release, an “extensive independent investigation” by law firm Stafford and Rosenbaum LLP concluded Hardman “did not engage in conduct or a pattern of conduct that would warrant disciplinary action.”

Because of allegations raised against Assistant Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson as part of the investigation, the village said Jorgenson has now been put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

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The group of paramedics also alleged Hardman fostered a culture of intimidation, and multiple employees alleged he touched them inappropriately while at work. In one instance, a female employee accused Hardman of rubbing her stomach without her consent after he learned she was pregnant.

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A letter posted on the union’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon said the investigation involved interviews with more than 20 witnesses. It also laid out a new chain of command for employees to lay out work-related concerns in the wake of the review, bypassing Hardman and instead directing them to EMS Director Dillon Gavinski.

“Our L5026 members are requesting time to process this and have no further comment at this time,” the union wrote in a Facebook post accompanying the letter. “We would like to thank you for the continued support during this matter.”