Morteo named Guttenberg Police Chief - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Morteo named Guttenberg Police Chief

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- He was fired last year, but Monday night George Morteo was been hired, re-hired, as Guttenberg's police chief. The job for police chief has been vacant since January after Terry Johnson resigned following seven months with the Guttenberg Police Department.

Monday's decision was it was quick but not without opposition. City Council member Rex Svoboda motioned to table the issue until the state investigates the Guttenberg Police Department. That motion was shot down with a 3-2 vote. Then a motion to approve Morteo as police chief. A 3-2 vote passed the mayor's appointment. It all happened in a matter of minutes

After a short City Council meeting, the newly appointed Guttenberg Police Chief George Morteo greets supporters.

"It's a proud feeling that the new council and mayor made the decision to give me my job back. I felt that I was wrongly discharged before and they saw the same thing and now I'm back in my job," said Morteo.

In March of 2009 the City Council, under Mayor Jim Solomon voted to fire Morteo, four to one, for poor performance. A year later, and the new mayor Gerald Block asks to bring him back.

"I checked his personnel files and in there, there is nothing, not a thing, convicting him there isn't any warnings letters, there's nothing," said Block.

Block says it was a personal issue between former Mayor Solomon and Morteo. Monday night the City Council met to discuss the Mayor's appointment.

A crowd gathered in the Municipal Building. Not everybody was happy with the decision.

"And I feel like with this big decision and we're the tax payers and this is a very expensive police department, that more people should have been able to speak before the council took the vote," said Barbara Pape.

But after a motion to table the issue was voted down. A council member motioned to approve the appointment. Moments later the Mayor's request was approved. George Morteo will serve, again, as Guttenberg Police Chief.

But not everyone agreed, one woman accused the mayor of not letting the people decide. Several others spoke to us after the meeting.

"I have a lot of reservations about George as Police Chief. Most of them who paid attention to news articles and stuff like that are very upset about George Morteo being hired," said Pape.

Many claim there is corruption in the police department and they don't want Morteo back. Still, Morteo says he's glad to be back and thankful for his supporters.

There were many people upset that they weren't allowed a chance to speak at the meeting. That's because the council runs by Robert's Rules. There is specific time set aside for public comment but not to discuss anything on the agenda. That is also up to the mayor's discretion, so while people were upset they couldn't comment, the mayor says those are the rules.

Morteo is expected to be sworn in Tuesday.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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