Marshfield mayor removed from office
For the Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – By the narrowest margin allowable, Marshfield’s mayor has been removed from office.
After a March 22 two-hour closed-door deliberation that followed four hours of public testimony and closing arguments on both sides, the common council voted 8-2 just after 11 p.m. to remove Bob McManus from the mayor’s office. Ken Bargender, Ed Wagner, Tom Witzel, Adam Fischer, Rebecca Spiros, Tom Buttke, Peter Hendler, and Nick Poeschel all voted for his removal. Alders Mike Feirer and Quentin Rosandich voted against removal.
The council said the mayor’s violations rose to the levels of inefficiency in government and official misconduct.
During his testimony, McManus said he did nothing intentional, and that he deleted text messages almost as they came in or went out, because he was under the impression everything was being archived by the city.
Andy Keogh, who filed the complaint to remove McManus from office, didn’t accept the mayor’s argument.
He responded with:
City Administrator Steve Barg testified that he had told McManus on several occasions leading up to an Aug. 7 email exchange that he made it clear the city did not archive, or back up, its text messages.
Keogh added in his closing arguments, “I take no pleasure from any of this.”
Many of the text messages deleted by the mayor were to be part of an open records request filed in April of last year by Fire & Police Commission President Randy Gershman, who wrapped up his testimony last night by saying he “didn’t have the stomach” to also file the complaint against McManus.
In his closing arguments, McManus characterized Gershman’s open records request, and the complaint filed by Keogh, also a Fire & Police Commissioner, as politically-motivated.
McManus also pointed out that Gershman’s open records request was filed on April 24, 2020 – three days after he attempted but failed to nominate an appointee to replace Keogh on the Fire & Police Commission. Gershman had testified on March 19 that he filed the open records request a year after he first started working on it.
The mayor’s term expires in April 2022. Council President Tom Witzel will run meetings until the common council makes decisions on moving forward.