Guttenberg Police Chief up for termination? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Guttenberg Police Chief up for termination?

GUTTENBERG (KWWL) -- A special meeting to discuss the termination of one Guttenberg city employee Friday afternoon sparked controversy in the town, partly because he wasn't even present at the meeting.

Friday afternoon the city council held a special meeting with one item on the agenda, the possible termination of the Guttenberg Police Chief. Dozens gathered in the council chamber friday afternoon for an unexpected meeting.

"It's just kinda bothered me that such a loyal public official or worker like George would even be considered to be terminated," Jeff Leidfried said.

Police Chief George Morteo is currently away in Mexico for work helping with translation services. Meanwhile the city council met to discuss his termination.

Under Iowa law a mayor as the right to terminate a police chief if the city council agrees. Dozens hoped to find out the cause for termination.

"I think actually this meeting was unnecessary. He just could have called it when he got back," Terry Thein said.

According the city attorney, Morteo is an at will employee, meaning he doesn't have a contract, he's not in a union and he's not a vet, therefore his position can be terminated without cause. And while the mayor declined to comment, the council did agree to table the termination, until Morteo gets back. Regardless, many people disagree with the termination.

"You'd see the number of people in this room today, they were here in support of George and he's a very fair man. So we'll just have to wait and see what comes out of it," Leidfried said.

Morteo has hired an attorney who was present at the meeting and is working with the city in this matter. Morteo is due back Monday.

We asked the mayor and city council members why they were considering letting Morteo go. They told us that they could not comment on the matter.

A meeting originally scheduled for Monday night has been postponed to Tuesday.
A time has not been set.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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