City leaders remain tight-lipped about police chief’s leave; Residents weigh in
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – City leaders in Marshfield say they understand the public’s frustration over a lack of information regarding a police chief, who remains on a voluntary leave of absence, but that they still cannot divulge the details of an ongoing investigation.
Over a dozen citizens showed up at the Oct. 13 meeting of the common council, and four of them spoke publicly about two personnel issues within the police department – the lingering voluntary leave-of-absence started in mid-August by Chief Rick Gramza and the recent dismissal of officer Jared Beauchamp for failing to complete a timed physical fitness test implemented by Gramza.
After asking 18 specific questions regarding Gramza’s absence last month, Jim Hiller was back at the podium on Oct. 13, wanting more answers to more questions.
City Administrator Steve Barg said he understood Hiller’s frustration over a lack of answers.
Alderman Ken Bargender said Chief Gramza deserves due process.
Mike Meyers, former mayor and current member of the city’s Fire & Police Commission, said when there is a need to take action, the commission will meet its obligations by scheduling a meeting and taking care of business.
Barg also noted that Chief Gramza did hand over his service weapon, badge, police radio, cell phone, and keys, and staff removed his access to city email accounts and computer files, and also directed that he not have further work-related contact with members of his staff. Gramza’s current leave follows a one-week absence from July 15-21, during which the state Justice Department looked into a more than decade-old allegation of criminal misconduct which investigators deemed unfounded.
The personnel issues at the police department, as well as legal matters related to activities of the Fire & Police Commission, were topics scheduled to be discussed in a closed session portion of the Oct. 13 council meeting.