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County terminates maintenance manager

By NICK NARIGON

Iowa County maintenance manager Joe Gleason was terminated from his position by the Iowa County Supervisors Friday, Jan. 8.

Following a closed session under Iowa Code 21.5(i), the supervisors unanimously terminated Gleason from his position effective immediately.

Iowa County Supervisor Chair Linda Yoder said an investigation has been turned over to the state attorney general’s office. Because the matter is under investigation, Yoder said she could not comment further.

An e-mail was sent by the supervisors to all county elected officials and department heads Monday, Jan. 4, notifying the officials that Gleason was on leave from his position.

The e-mail stated that all locks on the Iowa County Courthouse doors were updated and new keys will be issued to those that have keys.

“We would ask that everyone conduct themselves as the professionals we are and not be the source of rumors,” the e-mail reads.

Iowa County Supervisor Ray Garringer, who is on the supervisors’ building maintenance committee, said Gleason is a non-elected official and he is an at-will employee.

“He can be terminated with or without cause,” Garringer said. “You are not as sorry as we are, how this played out. Trust me. There has been sleep lost over this.”

The county has two employees remaining in the maintenance department. Garringer said the county will leave Gleason’s position vacant until at least June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The building maintenance committee will also take some responsibility for managing some of the day-to-day issues, Garringer said. For instance, in Gleason’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, he listed the county’s phone system as needing to be replaced.

“We don’t know if he knew something about the phone system he was going to tell us. If this needs to be replaced soon, or if that was just something he thought needed. There is stuff like that… we will have to take care of,” Garringer said.

Iowa County Sheriff Robert Rotter said since the matter is a personnel issue, he cannot comment on the ensuing investigation. Rotter said the investigation has been turned over to the state so there is no perceived conflict of interest at the county level.

He said he has not been notified if the Iowa Attorney General’s Office or the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation have initiated an investigation.

“None of those people have come to do anything. They have been notified,” Rotter said. “I hope the investigation comes to a point where we can let people know what happened. When there will be additional information, I cannot begin to tell you.”

Rotter noted that Gleason acted as the site manager for the construction of the Iowa County Law Enforcement Center, and Gleason was the only person who knew how much of the jail’s systems operated.

“Losing Joe is a big blow to the county,” Rotter said.

Marengo resident Larry Mayer, who regularly attends supervisors meetings, said Gleason put a lot of work into renovating the Iowa County Courthouse and the east courthouse annex.

“I am sorry to hear what happened and I don’t want to know what happened,” Mayer said.

Gleason, a Marengo resident, declined to comment.

UPDATED January 13, 2010 4:17 PM

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