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Willmar, Minn., utility GM critical of investigation into alleged misconduct ahead of commission receiving report

Willmar Municipal Utilities General Manager Bruce Gomm is pictured Thursday during an interview at the Tribune offices. The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission on Monday will receive an attorney's report of the investigation into allegations of misconduct by Gomm, who was placed on paid leave in December. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission on Monday will receive an attorney's report of the investigation into allegations of misconduct by General Manager Bruce Gomm. Commission President Dave Baker said each commissioner should have received a copy of the report.

Under state law, discussion of the report must be conducted in a closed meeting unless Gomm requests it be open. Gomm told the Tribune that he will request that the meeting be open.

Gomm said Thursday said that he is not sure what will happen at Monday's meeting.

"I've pretty much given up predicting what the commission's going to do. I really can't say," he said.

Ultimately, Gomm said he would like to have the truth come out.

"I would like people who have done things improperly or incorrectly to be held accountable and that citizens of this community are informed on what has really taken place at the utility," he said.

Gomm said he has seen the report and is disappointed with it.

"I feel it was pretty one-sided and I'm disappointed about the fact that I was not allowed to have access to my documentation, and then the report says I failed to prove my points. It seems kind of obvious that I would not be able to prove my point if I didn't have access to my documents," he said.

The commission Dec. 12 placed Gomm on 30-day paid administrative leave after holding a closed meeting to give preliminary consideration of possible misconduct by Gomm.

Gomm's leave has been extended twice, most recently Feb. 10 at a special meeting when commissioners had expected to have the report completed.

Gomm has said he believes any complaints against him are the result of friction between himself and other longtime employees who resented his authority over them. Gomm also has raised concerns about micromanagement by some members of the Municipal Utilities Commission and has said he welcomes an investigation.

The investigation began after the claims manager at the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust contacted the city on or about Dec. 16 and assigned the Iverson Reuvers law firm of Bloomington to represent the utility.

The Iverson firm then contacted Dyan Ebert of the Quinlivan and Hughes law firm in St. Cloud who agreed to perform the investigation.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150