Marshfield council denies mayor’s request, selects Ethics Board members
For the Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – On a night when Marshfield aldermen were choosing members of a new Ethics Board, they also denied a request from Mayor Bob McManus to investigate the actions of the city’s police and fire commission.
The Common Council voted 8-2 on Feb. 9 against the mayor’s request to authorize city attorney, Harold Wolfgram to look into the protocol and actions of members of the commission from Jan. 1 of last year to Feb. 5 of this year.
Among other things, McManus alleges a close cooperation between Fire & Police Commission President Randy Gershman and Police Chief Rick Gramza to thwart the mayor’s attempts to replace Commissioner Andy Keogh in April 2020.
Calling the investigation request “a distraction,” Alder Ed Wagner urged McManus to instead file a complaint, as Keogh has done against the mayor.
Alderman Nick Poeschel, a retired Marshfield police officer, said he was not opposed to an investigation but wanted more evidence to go on.
The council’s rejection came just one week after aldermen did agree to hold a special hearing to formally consider a complaint from Commissioner Keogh that seeks the removal of the mayor from office.
Four residents spoke in favor of the mayor, during the public comment period.
Retired Officer Steve Leu supported the mayor’s efforts to replace Keogh on the commission.
The nomination by McManus last April of a retired law enforcement officer to serve on the commission was ultimately rejected.
Meanwhile, the council took another step in putting a new Ethics Board in place.
After receiving resumes and letters of interest from 10 applicants, and hearing from all but two of them, the council voted in favor of three regular board members, along with one alternate.
Marshfield native and UW-Madison law school graduate Krista James was elected to a three-year term on the new Ethics Board. James is a 2006 graduate of Columbus High School.
Retired Circuit Court Judge Mike Brennan was elected to serve a two-year term on the board. Brennan served as a Clark County Circuit Court Judge for 30 years, and also served for seven years on the state’s Government Accountability Board from 2007-14.
Former Marshfield Alder Alanna Feddick was elected to a one-year term. She has practiced law in Marshfield for 19 years, and also served on the common council for 13 years.
Jenny Jirschele, of Marshfield, a consultant who helped write the Ethics Board ordinance for the city, was elected to a three year term as an alternate to the board. Jirschele has 15 years of public service experience working in human resources, specifically doing ethics investigations of state and public officials.