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Supervisors place Patocka on administrative leave

Martyr blasts board for decision

January 28, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer (mtidemann@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

Following the second closed session in a week to evaluate county engineer Roger Patocka, the Emmet County Board of Supervisors placed Patocka on paid administrative leave, pending a scheduled meeting between him and the county's employment lawyer, Mike Galloway, 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Relations between Patocka and the board have been fractious since Patocka requested, but did not receive, extension of his employment contract with the county about two years ago. At that time, supervisor Alan Madden of Ringsted, now board chair, told Patocka an employment contract carried no weight since the county engineer's employment was at will.

It was supervisor Bev Juhl who made the motion to place Patocka on paid administrative leave, with supervisors Madden, Ron Smith and Tim Schumacher voting along with Juhl in favor of the motion while Martyr voted against.

After the vote, Martyr asked Juhl whether Galloway had been contacted about the appointment with Patocka before the board's decision Tuesday. When Juhl said yes, Martyr erupted in anger.

"How inappropriate," said Martyr, calling the decision to call Galloway in to meet with Patocka before the board's decision "cowardly."

"I'm disappointed in you guys," said Martyr. "I'm hoping you didn't have an unlawful meeting to decide this."

Madden said he had talked to Galloway who recommended the course of action the board was taking.

"This is wrong," said Martyr. "It's not how you do something. Everybody should be aware of it (plans to call in Galloway). Don't cloak it in an evaluation (of Patocka). It's not appropriate.

"It's the result of some discussions and stuff and I think it's the way we have to go with it right now," said Madden.

 
 

 

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