Guttenberg Police Chief terminated for poor work performance. - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Guttenberg Police Chief terminated for poor work performance.

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The Guttenberg mayor and city council voted 5-1 to fire George Morteo for poor work performance. The Guttenberg mayor and city council voted 5-1 to fire George Morteo for poor work performance.

GUTTENBERG (KWWL) - In a 4-1 vote, Tuesday the Guttenberg City Council terminated the city's Police Chief George Morteo. This comes after the council voted unanimously Friday to wait for him to return home from Mexico -- where he was working as a translator.

At least 100 people gathered in the Council Chambers, here in Guttenberg, to hear the fate of Morteo.

It was standing room only inside the council chamber. People standing up for a controversial termination of their long time Guttenberg Police Chief.

"Your community's here telling you your wrong," yelled one man in the crowd.

Despite protest, a 4-1 vote among council terminated Morteo.

"I was told poor performance. That's all I that I am aware of. I meet with the Mayor weekly. He told me how good a job I was going and just this last meeting he wanted something in writing about my goals that I've met," said Morteo, former Police Chief.

The Mayor says the decision is based on performance.

"It's not our intent to do a character assassination here, it's just a job that we needed to do," said Mayor Jim Solomon.

Still people here have more question then answers.

"That they wouldn't state the reason it's a genuine concern to our community there has to be a reason," said Angela Reed.

"You can't fight city hall. You know why, what can't somebody tell reasons why it's upsetting for a lot of people," said Jeff Marovets.

Iowa law says a mayor has the right to terminate a police chief-- if the majority of the council agrees. But in the midst of it all -- Morteo is thankful for the support.

"I'm overwhelmed at the support, the letters, the people stopping by my house," said Morteo.

People in town are already coming out in support, posting signs around town. Even taking it to social networks like Facebook. Creating groups for the former police chief.

As for his replacement, no word yet on when they'll be hired. Morteo has hired an attorney, who was present at today's meeting. He would not comment on any further action he'll take against the city.

According the city attorney, Morteo was an at will employee, meaning he doesn't have a contract, he's not in a union and he's not a veteran, therefore his position can be terminated without cause.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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