Issues concerning City Administrator Mike Humpal’s employment and removing the City Code requirement for the City Attorney’s attendance at council meetings drew a huge crowd Monday night at Fairmont’s City Hall.On a 3-2 vote with councilors Tom Hawkins, Ruth Cyphers and Randy Lubenow voting yes with Bruce Peters and Wayne Hasek voting no, the code change passed, but after several warnings from the city’s interim legal counsel, Robert Scott from Flaherty and Hood,any action concerning the city adminstrator was tabled to allow for the attorney’s review.
The council evaluated Mike Humpal’s job performance during a June 24 closed session that lasted well over two hours. Mayor Debbie Foster read a brief statement of the results of that session.
“The City Council did not reach a consensus on any conclusions regarding the performance of Mike Humpal,”. “If the council is considering taking any action with respect to the administrator, our recommendation would be that that resolution first be reviewed by legal counsel as there is potential for the city to incur liability if they take action and it’s not compliant with the charter or with the administrator’s employment agreement,” said Robert Scott.
A resolution concerning the city administrator was passed out by Ruth Cyphers,to council members, the City Clerk and City Attorney. Mayor Foster asked about copies of the page and a half resolution for the residents attending. The resolution contained language that would result in the suspension of the city administrator. She asked Attorney Scott for his legal opinion. After examining the document more closely, Scott said the resolution did contain criticisms of Humpal’s job performance, which was private personnel data and again advised the council to not vote on it last night.
Tom Hawkins made a motion to go into closed session to discuss it, and Lubenow seconded it. The vote was 3-2. After the 30-minute closed session, Scott again reminded the council that the resolution contained private personnel data and recommended taking no action on it until it could be reviewed.
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