Fire & Police Commission sets hearing dates for Gramza proceedings
For the Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield’s Fire & Police Commission will spend at least eight days in March hearing evidence both for and against the termination of Police Chief Rick Gramza.
The commission voted unanimously on Feb. 10 in favor of holding the hearings March 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 23, 24, and 25.
City Administrator Steve Barg says attorneys for both Gramza and the city will present and cross examine witnesses, so the hearings will take on the look and feel of a trial.
“That is part of why it has taken as long as it has. I know that people are frustrated that Rick stepped aside voluntarily in August and here we are having this conversation in February,” Barg said. “But, when this hearing occurs there is going to be a lot of different issues out there. Rick’s attorney is going to want to contest to things that the city’s attorney is presenting and vice versa. So, we just ask people to bear with us.
“I am glad, as the mayor is, that the hearing dates are finally set. That’s a good thing to be able to tell the citizens that there is activity and movement, and we look forward to getting to that point.”
The common council voted unanimously in late December in favor of authorizing Barg to file formal employment-related charges against the chief. The hearings will determine whether Gramza violated any city personnel policies; and if he did, the commission would then decide if that should result in some sort of disciplinary action, such as suspension or termination.
A female police officer brought the allegations against the chief. Gramza has admitted to a sexual relationship with the employee, but has told investigators the contact was consensual.
Gramza was criminally charged in early November with misconduct in office for acting with excessive authority, fourth-degree sexual assault, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Portage County Judge Thomas Eagon was scheduled to hold another hearing in the case on Feb. 18.
Gramza remains free on a $10,000 signature bond.