Marshall is let go as utilities director

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Public Utilities Commission formally terminated Rod Marshall’s employment as utilities director, Friday.

New Ulm City Manager Chris Dalton said he, the human resources director and the personnel committee met with Marshall on Monday, Feb. 12 to go over performance concerns and issues brought to their attention.

“As we were going through those issues with Rod, he declined to comment or state an issue against those concerns,” Dalton said. “Before the meeting was over, Rod turned in his phone and ID badge. At that point he was placed on administrative leave.”

It was the recommendation of the city manager, human resources director and the personal committee to move forward with the termination of employment.

PUC Chair Linda Heine said the commission took this very seriously.

“We’ve had some turnover in the director’s position, so this is a pretty big decision,” she said.

For clarification, Heine asked if an attempt was made to discusss performance issues with Marshall.

Dalton confirmed an attempt was made, but Marshall was not willing to discuss those concerns during the meeting.

Personnel Committee members Sean Fingland and Shannon Hillesheim agreed with the recommendation.

“We met (with Marshall) and wanted to discuss issues,” Fingland said. “There was no comment (from Marshall) on any of the issues and no desire to discuss them.”

Hillesheim confirmed they gave Marshall a chance to comment, but he gave none.

City Attorney Roger Hippert said Marshall was a probationary at-will employee.

Fingland made the motion to recommendation to remove Marshall from the position of utilities director, with a second from Hillesheim.

The motion was unanimously approved by the commission.

Marshall is the third New Ulm Utilities Director to leave the position in five years. Marshall took over the position on Sept. 4. The previous director, Patrick Wrase, resigned in November 2017.

The exact issues and concerns the city manager, human resource director and personnel committee attempted to discuss with Marshall were not released.

Dalton said this information was being kept private to not interfere with Marshall receiving employment elsewhere.

“I would like (Marshall) to get a job,” he said. “(We)were not the right fit.”

Dalton said Marshall was not asked to turn in his cell phone and ID badge during the Monday meeting, but gave them up voluntarily.

After leaving the meeting on Monday, Marshall did speak to a Journal reporter and said he was sent home from work and denied the claims of performance issues as “spin.”

Moving forward, the PUC will need to fill the vacant director position. A recommendation for the next step in finding a new utilities director will be part of the Tuesday, Feb. 26 PUC meeting.