Complaint Against Police & Fire Commissioners Does Not Meet Statutory Requirements

Marshfield Common Council

Common Council Will Not Hear Complaint

OnFocus- Earlier this month, the City of Marshfield received a complaint against two members of the Police and Fire Commission: Randy Gershman and Andy Koegh.

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, City Attorney Harold “Hap” Wolfgram explained that the complaint did not meet the statutory requirements for the Council to be able to take action, due to there being no formal verification. Additionally, one member (Gershman) did not seek reappointment when his term was complete. As a result, the Council legally can’t take action to address the complaint.

“A verification is a formality, but it is is a sworn statement that swears by at least a responsible party (a citizen taxpayer of the city) that the contents of the complaint are truthful and based on their knowledge,” explained Wolfgram. “It’s a sworn statement that says the content of the complaints, that someone is swearing that they are taking responsibility and are supporting it.”

Common Council members then discussed the subject.

“These procedures are very difficult for the Council and staff and legal representation. I think we’ve ben through this for quite some time and it’s time to move forward and do something positive, to govern and help the City staff do its thing,” said Alderman Peter Hendler. “People have gotten a bad name through this whole thing and I think we should move on. If it would be appropriate, I would make a motion to dismiss this if we can so we can move on and do the business we’re supposed to be doing.”

“I think you can dismiss it because it lacks the requirement. I don’t think it’s necessary for you to do it,” said Wolfgram. “You lack the jurisdiction to take action on it…you’re not really authorized to take action on it.”

Hendler said he wanted closure. “I don’t like things hanging over my head,” he said.

Spiros agreed with Hendler’s sentiment.

“It’s not a valid complaint anyway,” she said, noting that one of the complaint subjects has resigned. “For that reason, I don’t want it hanging out there. Along with the fact that it would never become valid anyway (because one member resigned)…It’s a legal thing. It’s just going to sit out there forever otherwise.”

She later added that her decision was not influenced by the complaint’s contents.

“It’s not because I don’t care or I don’t believe you. It isn’t for a lack of concern for what your thoughts and concerns are- that is not the reason for wanting to get rid of it. The reason is to move on, positively,” she said.

“This isn’t about not believing certain people or taking concerns seriously,” added Alderman Adam Fischer. “Our City Attorney just told us the complaint is not statutorily correct. Not taking any action, I think, would be the best thing… I don’t see why we need to vote to not hear the complaint. It’s not valid. We move on.”

Wolgram explained that the Council can make a motion to not take action on the complaint, if they wanted the matter to be closed.

Council ultimately voted 7-3 in favor of taking no action, ultimately stating that they will be taking no action on the complaint because they do not have authority to do so.

Gershman’s term was up on the Police & Fire Commission earlier this month. Koegh remains on the commission, along with Mike Meyers and Gordy Earll. New members Bill Penker and Steve Meek were formally appointed Tuesday night.

Correction: Gershman’s term was up and he didn’t seek reappointment. Gershman did not resign as previously stated in the article.

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News Desk
Author: News Desk

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