Marshfield Mayor Bob McManus Addresses Criminal Investigation During Radio Interview
During an interview with WDLB Insight host Jeff Cannon, Mayor Bob McManus addressed recent reports that he is facing a criminal investigation related to hiding documents that were part of an open records request.
According to McManus and confirmed by the City of Marshfield, a member of Marshfield’s Police & Fire Commission made the open records request in April 2020.
According to State Statue 62.13, each city with populations over 4,000 shall have a board of police and fire commissioners consisting of 5 citizens. The citizens are appointed by the Mayor annually between the first Monday of April and the first Monday of May. Each member in the City of Marshfield is appointed for a 5-year term. The appointment is approved by the Common Council.
In the last two years, Mayor Bob McManus has moved to appoint new members to the Police and Fire Commission. In each year the Common Council did not approve the Mayor’s initial appointment. Most recently, Mayor McManus moved to appoint a retired member of local law enforcement to replace Andy Keogh.
“I did not have that kind of scuttlebutt with any other commission, board, or committee. It was just this one particular one,” said McManus, adding that he was seeking to add diversity to the committee and felt the open records request was an intimidation tactic.
“It was just before I made my recommendations for commissions, committees, and boards,” said McManus. “They did that around the time I was getting ready to make the appointment. Any citizen can make an open records request, so be it.”
Further investigation revealed that Mayor McManus made his appointments on April 21st, and it was following his appointments that the open records request was received by the City of Marshfield on April 24th. It was after the records were requested that the Mayor announced the withdrawal of Dean Pitt as the appointee for the Police and Fire Commission, thus reappointing Andy Keogh.
McManus also told Cannon that early in his mayoral term, he did use a personal email to communicate City-related items, but “didn’t even know at that time that it was a big deal.” McManus explained that he has since utilized separate accounts and phones for personal and business use.
“I’ve got my City email. I’ve got my City direct line. I’ve got my city-issued cell phone and my ‘Mayor Bob McManus’ Facebook page is administered by the City, so anything that they would want there they would be able to get,” McManus told Cannon. “They would be able to see the text log, to see who I texted. They wanted to know who it is that I was having discussions with involving police and fire commission so it was really quite odd.”
Deb Hall, City of Marshfield City Clerk, confirmed that the City of Marshfield is actually not the holder of the Facebook page of Mayor Bob McManus (https://www.facebook.com/MCMANUSforMAYOR/) and would be unable to supply any information requested in an open records request.
City IT Director, Eng Ng, also confirmed that the city uses AT&T as their cell phone carrier for city staff and elected officials and they do not receive text logs or phone logs as part of their carrier statements. Therefore, the only records archived by the city is city-used email.
City Administrator Steve Barg explained that the City has three cell phone carriers at the present time.
“These are as follows:
- FirstNet: This is what anyone associated with our emergency government function has (certain staff and others, including the Mayor)
- Verizon: This has been our primary carrier over the last couple of years until we switched some people to FirstNet
- US Cell: We still have a few older phones whose plans are with US Cell
The monthly bills do not include copies of text messages sent and received,” he said.
According to state statue 946.12, any public officer or public employee who intentionally fails or refuses to perform a know mandatory duty of their office is subject to charges for Misconduct in Public Office, a Class I Felony – such as concealing records that were requested as part of an open records request.
McManus reiterated throughout the interview that his records have all been submitted for open records.
“The City controls my cell phone. They’ve got my cell call log. They’ve got my text logs, they’ll have the phone numbers that went out. They have all of my emails and they’ve sent a ton of emails for them to review, and they administer my ‘Mayor Bob McManus’ Facebook page,” he reiterated.
“I just really question why a request like that would be made,” he added. “I really have nothing to hide. We’re seeing this kind of garbage nationally.”
Portage County Sheriff’s Department is currently heading the investigation which involves the Mayor of Marshfield Bob McManus.
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