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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Termination can be appealed

  • Even though a commission has upheld the termination of a former economic development administrator for Leavenworth, the case still can be appealed in court, the city manager said.
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  • By John Richmeier
    jrichmeier@leavenworthtimes.com
    Even though a commission has upheld the termination of a former economic development administrator for Leavenworth, the case still can be appealed in court, the city manager said.
    Earlier this month, the city of Leavenworth's Civil Service Commission upheld the decision to terminate Gary Bartek.
    Bartek had appealed after he was fired Aug. 7 by City Manager Scott Miller.
    Bartek had worked for the city for about three years. He first worked under an economic development director. But for the last couple of years, he was the city's only economic development administrator.
    During an Oct. 2 Civil Service Commission hearing, Miller testified he terminated Bartek, at least in part, because of a July 30 letter the economic development administrator sent to the governor.
    In the letter, he criticized the Kansas Department of Commerce, writing that it was doing a disservice to the governor, according to a transcript of the hearing.
    "My concern with the letter is it's inappropriate," Miller said in his testimony. "It was unprofessional. It was unauthorized by my office."
    He testified the letter, which was written with the city's letterhead and signed by Bartek, didn't go through the chain of command but took a position against the Kansas Department of Commerce.
    Miller also said in his testimony that the letter may damage the city's relations with the governor's office.
    "I considered this an egregious violation," Miller said during the testimony.
    Miller testified that he learned of the letter when he was contacted by someone from the governor's office.
    Miller also cited other factors during his testimony that led to Bartek's resignation including not keeping the city manager advised of changes in a project.
    During his testimony, Bartek said he believed the letter was appropriate at the time he wrote it. If he had the chance to it over again, he would change some things.
    Bartek testified that he had apologized to an official with the Kansas Department of Commerce, asking if there was anyone else he needed to apology to.
    Bartek also said he felt the city manager previously had rated him highly during evaluations.
    And Bartek said he prides himself on his professionalism and character.
    During his closing argument, City Attorney Tom Dawson argued Miller was concerned about the impact the letter and Bartek's behavior would have with the governor's office on important issues that impact Leavenworth.
    Bartek's attorney, Douglas McKenna, argued there was no evidence the letter caused any problem with the state government.
    The attorney also argued Bartek had not been provided the opportunity to give his side of the story, and wasn't provided the fairness that should be given under the city's policies.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Civil Service Commission upheld the termination decision Oct. 18, according to city spokeswoman Melissa Bower.
    Miller said Bartek still has a right to appeal the matter to court.
    When previously contacted by the Times, Bartek said he had no comment.
    Miller also has declined to comment on the matter, saying it's still a pending personnel issue.

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