Mayor’s Uncustomary Decision

Marshfield (OnFocus) At an Organizational Meeting of the City of Marshfield Common Council, Mayor Bob McManus made an uncustomary move by not submitting sitting member Nate Mueller of the Police & Fire Commission for re-election. (The Police and Fire Commission is autonomous from the City of Marshfield, but the Mayor has the ability to appoint members to the ballot for consideration by the full Council.)

Nate Mueller has served on the Police & Fire Commission for ten years and submitted a letter to Mayor and Council communicating his interest in continuing his role on the Commission. Historically, if a sitting member expresses desire to continue service, they are appointed to the ballot. 

“I understand that you want to send a message to the PFC and shake things up. But until recently, you and I have never really spoken (other than in passing) and I have been unaware that you are upset at me or the PFC in general,” Mueller wrote McManus in an email obtained by OnFocus. “I don’t understand what I have done that justifies breaking precedent by not reappointing me to the commission. It feels like I am being kicked off, but with no supporting reason.”

At the Organizational Meeting, Mueller spoke about his experience achieved through 23 years in business, which allows him to understand and speak to issues such as the ongoing EMS fund Marshfield Fire & Rescue currently maintains with Marshfield Medical Center. 

Police and Fire Commission Meeting – Far Right – Nate Mueller

“I am confident my skill sets will help our departments overcome the challenges we face today and continue to build on our successes for the future,” Mueller said.

As part of this long-term discussion with the Clinic, conversations are being held regarding the hiring of additional staffing for the MFRD. Mueller has expressed concern regarding the City’s financial obligations to the staffing in relationship to the return on the contract. During his campaign, McManus advocated for additional staffing within the department. McManus confirmed with OnFocus that he did receive support from both local Police and Fire Unions.

“I did receive the endorsement of both the Police and Fire Department unions during the campaign.  There was no direct monetary support to me, however, I believe they ran some ads in support,” McManus said.

Mueller also expressed confusion to McManus about his unprecedented decision to not consider a sitting member to be re-appointed.

“In the last 12 years, one commissioner was removed for inappropriate use of their title, another was removed for improper personal decisions, and another frequently came to meetings unprepared (and left mid-term),” Mueller said. “The council rejected one candidate because he was ‘too political’ at the time (a commission with optional powers should be shielded from political pressure). Outside of those issues, the precedent is clear: commissioners that want to stay on are reappointed. This makes sense; why change precedent by removing a qualified volunteer that is dedicated to the city’s success?”

McManus told OnFocus that he was thankful for Mueller’s service, but chose to appoint Marisa Steinbach instead, a colleague of his at Forward Financial.

“I do appreciate and am thankful for the 10 years of service that Nate Mueller has given to the Police and Fire Commission.  Nate is very successful in our community and he takes everything he does very seriously and it shows in his dedication to the Commission,” he said. “I appreciate all of the people who serve on the City of Marshfield Commissions and Committee’s. These people really care about the City and are doing their part to make our City even better. We rely heavily on these people and are so thankful for all of them.”

According to McManus, Steinbach will look at every topic with an open mind and for what is best for the City.

“I am very confident in her ability on this commission,” said McManus. “She has attention to detail, is proficient in contracts, and attention to the facts presented.  She will be a great addition to the commission.”

“Our Police and Fire Commission has 5 members. There are several qualities I look for on this Commission. Some of the qualities are being reasonable, not having an agenda, ability and back round in contracts, ability to learn and know proper procedures, and ability to listen to all sides and make an informed decision. These are just some of the qualities that we look for in the commission and for that matter in all of our committees and commissions,” he added.

Furthermore, at the Organizational Meeting Mueller addressed comments made by McManus indicating that he expressed a desire to “shake things up” with the Commission. In an email to Nate Mueller shared with OnFocus, McManus expressed concerns with the PFC.

“I have expressed concerns, however, I have a lot of concerns on may [sic] different areas of the City,” he wrote. “If I have a difference of opinion on 1 or 2 decisions that are made, those pale in comparison to the 100s of decision that I am in complete agreement with.”

OnFocus reached out to McManus regarding those concerns. At the time of publication, McManus had not responded. This past Tuesday evening was an organizational meeting for the Common Council after Council members are sworn in. This is where all the appointments for Commissions and Committee’s as well as Council appointments are made. The Council voted unanimously to approve the Council appointments, and will vote this coming Tuesday evening on the Commission and Committee appointments.