December 28, 2009

Ombudsman Issues Investigative Report On Misconduct Of Stuart Street Superintendent (Updated)

Posted in City News at 3:19 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

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Update – It has been brought to my attention that the skid loader used by Bob to clear his drive last week was rented from John Schwinger.  It is identical to the one owned by the city and was dropped off at the city yard for his use.

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The Ombudsman Office has completed their investigation and issued this investigative report.

While I find the report interesting in its findings today I also remember seeing Mr. Airhart using the city skip loader in his drive last week just before this last snowfall pushing the old snowfall back out of the way.  Since the city has been in receipt of this report for at least 30 days and responded back to the Ombudsman Office it is hard to believe that Mr. Airhart was unaware of the report findings and persists in flagrantly violating city employee standards.  Let alone a city administrator and council who have failed to take any appreciable disciplinary action over the years.

One can only hope that with a new mayor taking office next month there is some hope that city personnel problems will begin to be addressed in a firm, fair and timely manner.

Turning A Blind Eye, An Investigation Into Misconduct by the City of Stuart’s Street Superintendent, and How City Leaders Responded to It

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24 Comments »

  1. alnon said,

    The City Administrator, Ashour, failed not in his attempts to admonish Airhart, but in
    investigating and rectifying the repeated reports of problems. Although he spoke to
    Airhart several times about his misuse of City equipment, he failed to hold Airhart
    accountable for his repeated transgressions. This occurred despite clear signals from the City Council that Airhart’s violations were grounds for dismissal.

    So the officials elected and employees can walk all over the tax paying citizens of Stuart? The Administrator should also be held accountable for failure to follow and enforce city policy.

  2. Anonymous said,

    As far as we can see our CITY POLICE CHIEF has not shoveled his sidwalk & it would be nice to know WHO issued a worning to the ones that hadn’t gotten theirs done. There are a lot of things that need to be addressed in our town.
    A Citizen (tax payer).

  3. dmregister said,

    the comments on the register are sad. they should have read the report
    1st, the trucks are parked at the city shed, several blocks away.
    2nd, if he can get out of his drive why use the plow to get to work? he was already there.
    3rd, i work in dm, i drive an hour each way and work an 8-10 hour day, yet i still come home to shovel my snow, oh that is if the alley where people park can actually get out of the alley, because the city has not plowed them yet.
    4th hire it done, like everybody else. you have people in this community living off social security and if lucky a small pension, they have to pay healthcare prem (city employees donot), utility bills, taxes and try to afford groceries, yet they can shovel or hire someone to dig them out.Shame on your city officials for not putting a stop to it. shame on Mr. Airhart for abusing his position. 2 hrs to plow a drive? How big a drive is it?

  4. Anonymous said,

    I think people need to grow up I heard he plows the rescue/fire volunteers I think there is nothing wrong going on I hope if you your kids husband parents or yourself need rescue/fire they will beable to get to you.

  5. curious said,

    Why does Ash not know the state code, when it comes to the city.

    Bob will be the fall guy for the mis management of this town. Ash should be held accountable as much as Bob. And the council member who holds the oversite on the streets, be held accountable.

    Sorry Bob but you over step your bounds, and took your position way over the top.

    How convenient that Ash is not at work and this comes out.

    For the new Mayor, you should not just judge Bob, but all of his superiors, who knew this was going on and knew it broke State Code. Shame On YOU!

  6. Anonymous said,

    Rules are meant to be followed. A little common sense thrown in and it should be a pretty easy fix. There are plenty of qualified people needing and wanting work. If these people aren’t doing their jobs, AND abusing the rules, take care of it and go on. Stop the bleeding. I think the town can do well without a city administrator and ANY city employee who is abusing their employment. We are in a recession, and for anyone to turn their head and waste city funds, they should all be held accountable. Looks like a good house cleaning is in order, including any council member(s) turning their head to this, AND the administrator. Small town city government doesn’t have to look like a joke. If the taxpayers speak up, hopefully, it won’t.

  7. Anonymous said,

    I’m thoroughly impressed with the growth and bustling the town of Stuart is going through! The hospitality, honesty, and commitment of the citizens and city employees have been equally impressive!!

    However when I saw the city of Stuart making headlines in the news it seemed awfully sad that all that is good is now being tarnished over a little snow removal?

    It has been my pleasure to work directly with the city of Stuart officials over the past few months; it comes to my surprise that there is so much resentment and distaste for the city employees? Most of which live and have lived in Stuart most of their lives!!

    Working in conjunction with most of the city employees at one time or another I see honest hard working individuals that care unselfishly for the town of Stuart including Bob Airhart. The first time I met Bob he made it absolutely clear that he cared about the effects our activities would have on the streets of Stuart. I saw this quality in every city employee I have met in Stuart.

    If I had to work 24-36 hrs straight to get snow cleared and my town able to move and conduct business it would be nice to know the town I live in would not be to upset if I went home for a bite to eat , before heading back out to work more, and cleared my drive! Iowa towns should be known for our helping hands, honesty, and genuine care for our neighbors….. Not this sort of tarnish.

    Stuart citizens should be proud of their city officials and its employees for the growth and tireless commitment to be a thriving community!!

    • Anonymous said,

      Sounds like Dec. 29th long winded report was coming from someone who either doesnt care about wasting taxpayer money OR breaking the law. Bob has been warned, the city turned their backs and they all BROKE THE LAW. I agree that he not only is a bully, but used his possition it appears over and over again to the full extent of abuse and waived it in everyone’s faces. They all should be held accountable. The report is complete, and thorough. I hope the County Attorney makes an example of what happend when over and over again, a city refuses to obey the law.

  8. bemused said,

    Well, what an intriguing report! It’s about time Stuart city officials are finally held accountable for SOMETHING! Talk about a Merry After Christmas treat!

  9. Clarification to Dec 29 @2:15 said,

    To Dec 29 @ 2:15.

    Thank you for your kind words toward Stuart. The story does appear that it is a one time event. It is not, if you read it again, you will find that Bob has been told to stop using city equipment several times over the years. As an outsider looking it, it probably seems trivial. From a townie, it is an ongoing year around issue.
    The event that ‘broke the camels back’ to use a cliche’, involved vindictive behavior and had a paper trail to prove it.

  10. Anonymous said,

    Bemused, I’m curious what these officials have done to you that you are SO anxious to see them held accountable? And for what? For bringing life back to this community? For making long overdue improvements and offering more to citizens? And at very little or no expense to taxpayers, I might add. I would bet that your taxes have gone up more because of the county hospital improvements and the school and Cultural Center (both of which the public voted on) than for any of the other new amenities combined.

    It is very sad that your “after Christmas” thrill is that someone’s name is being drug through the mud. Have you ever talked to any of your city officials? I have, and they are not horrible, awful people whose sole purpose in life is to ruin yours. Most of them are intelligent, capable, hardworking citizens who desire more for the town of Stuart and are willing to sacrifice to see it progress.

  11. Anonymous said,

    Excuse me, 9:04, but Bob not only put himself in the mud, but while this investigation has been ongoing, he has been thumbing his nose at it all and continued to use public property. Again, he is a bully, has been, and probably is part of the reason some thin skinned officials refused to take him on. Too bad. No one is dragging him through the mud. He put himself right smack in the middle of this mess. Read the report. There is no denying facts. Think what you want and be his bff, for all I care, but facts don’t lie, and neither do pictures.

  12. bemused said,

    OK, I stand corrected. Let me be more specific. It’s about time CERTAIN city officials are held accountable for SOMETHING. I would have to agree with Anonymous at 11:04 a.m. that Bob put himself in the mud. And certain city officials who knew better turned a blind eye and allowed this malarkey to go on for quite some time. The “treat” is to see the TRUTH unearthed AT LAST and hands slapped accordingly. Truth and transparency in government. Not just pretty words, my fellow Good Eggs.

  13. Anonymous said,

    9:04 here – to 11:04 a.m., I was actually responding to bemused and his/her comments about city officials. I do not consider Bob to be one of those. Nor do I consider it a treat to see or hear about anyone getting blasted by the community, the state, etc. as “bemused” seems to do.

    I am not Bob’s bff, and for the record, I have read the report. I think it was a bigger waste of taxpayer’s money to do all of that background work and write a huge report on something that the majority of people do. Yes, what Bob did was wrong. But who out there has not done other things on their company work time – personal phone calls and/or emails, checking facebook, the list goes on and on. I’m not justifying his wrong doing, only saying that it should be the one of us who has never sinned to cast the first stone.

  14. Anonymous said,

    I don’t care if if today or two years ago a wrong is still a wrong I will talk ro my concelmen and tell him what i feel I respect peg in all that she does but the the truth and actions will follow

  15. Anonymous said,

    I stand on one fact. He broke the law. Simple as that. According to the report, it is a State Law. The city had a responsibility to clear any use of public equipment through the State of Iowa. Is this serious? You better bet it is. To take the attitude that “everybody does it”, it that what the excuse is for the city officials? How about Dr. Siebrasse? What Bob did to him was inexcusable and the type of crap you hear about in the south, where small town corruption is pretty well the norm. Bob should be fired and those pals who support him, the same.

  16. Anonymous said,

    Jan4 324. Do you support anything that is positive or just like causing problems. Maybe you should get on a committee or write a grant,vent some of your pathetic anger. Remember, Bob and Jimmy are shoveling city streets when you are in bed. Good thing you can get to work ok.

  17. Anonymous said,

    Remember Bob and Jim are PAID to plow the streets. It’s their JOB. As far as Bob using city equipment – hey we all have perks were we work right! If you don’t get a better job.

  18. Anonymous said,

    Bob did do something he should not have but I do not think it was such a bad deal that it had to go to the ombudsman but that is the way this small town is. They seem to resent the people that work for the city or own businesses in this town. The majoirty of the people would rather criticize than say good things and there is a lot of resentment or jealousy (I am not sure which).
    The people that are on the city council, school board and utility board get treated the same way. Yet, few of the people doing the griping, will ever run or work to get involved. It is way too easy for them to just find fault in others.

  19. Anonymous said,

    Don’t forget this was a State Law broken by more than just Bob. If he and the city wanted to give him the keys to all the toys, then they should have had it approved by the proper rules of the State of Iowa. Simple as that.
    An interesting point should be made at this juncture. We possibly need to be electing more intelligent people to govern the city and not make it a who’s who gig. There might be a chance of someone knowing about that rule. They can’t be all things to all people, and Jan 4, 8:42…I don’t live in your town, I just heard about the ruccus on TV and tuned in. As a matter of fact, I’m not surprised that people would want to feast on another city employee, as we have seen it in the past. Bob Airhart should still be fired. He broke the law. I don’t know him, but money is money, and city government has rules. The rules, once broken, keep being broken and taxpayer dollars are being wasted. Keep him if your town loves him so much, have a fundraiser and buy him his own snow plow, but you should keep your expectations low. As for when I get out of bed…..really has no bearing on whether Bob Airhart gets fired or not. I re-read my comment and I don’t think there is any sign of pathetic anger here at all. I’m not angry, I’m disappointed in a city. Are you a chronic blogger? Sure sounds like it for these kind of remarks. The comment about “hey we all have perks”…….Welcome to Mayberry. For golly sake, why don’t we all just “borrow” a snow plow and do our own! What a nuckelhead thing to say. This thing is serious with serious consequences, and I don’t think Bob has gotten wind of it yet. We’ll see what the County Attorney has to say. And speaking of plowing snow……

    Why don’t we try to see why, with property taxes going through the roof, we don’t have rural roads ready for the busses to run. Used to be the plows and snow blowers ran all night long for us to get going. they say they don’t have enough money….We may need new supervisors, too. that goes for Adair AND Guthrie.

  20. Anonymous said,

    Thanks for your heartfelt concern Jan.11 2:52pm. It’s nice to know there are people out there that don’t live in our community that care so much about it. Give us a break! Your not fooling anyone!

  21. Anonymous said,

    January 11, 2:52p, it’s interesting that you don’t know Bob Airhart, but you think the City Council is a list of who’s who? Please let us all in on the reasoning behind that statement. Why in the world would you classify these guys as that? As for them needing to be replaced by intelligent people, what a rude thing to say. Do you know any of these guys? The majority are very intelligent (as is evidenced by their jobs, their education, etc), as well as by the fact that there is SO much happening for Stuart as a result of their work in understanding TIF.

    Do you understand that the story of Bob and this situation spans multiple councils for many years, not just the sitting council. And, I’m sure that conversations that happened with previous councils about this were not in the handbook that the current council received. I haven’t asked, but I’m guessing that they did not even realize it was an ongoing situation that had been resurfacing for years.

  22. Anonymous said,

    Thanks for the laughs Jan. 11, 2:52 i needed them. You must have waaaayyyy to much time on your hand if you worry this much about a town you don’t live in. My guess is that you do live in Stuart and are bitter about something. Try to look on the bright side a little more , it will do you a world of good!

  23. afterthiswhat? said,

    A tarnished town for more years than I care to remember. Used to be over
    the party line, then from one caller to another, then the opportunity to arouse gossip and talk began to take place a a meeting of the minds. Be it club meetings, business meetings, sport meetings, and yes even church meetings. What would we do if we didn’t have someone to talk about and put down? Why I guess we would have to look at our own trangressions and frailties. That is something none of us really care to do, because it would make us see that no one is better than ourself, or are we better than anyone else. What is the old saying?, Let ye without sin cast the first stone. Let’s clean the rocks out of our hands and more importanly, out of our heads


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