The City Council on Monday fired City Manager Michael Plante following a special meeting about recent charges of domestic assault against him.
The Scott County Attorneys Office on Aug. 16 charged Plante, 36, with two misdemeanor counts of domestic assault and one felony county of domestic assault by strangulation.
A small crowd applauded following a unanimous vote by the council to fire Plante without severance or notice less than a year after he took the manager job. The decision came after a 30-minute closed session discussion.
The city’s labor and employment attorney, Jason Hungerford, said the nature of the charges against Plante gave the council grounds to fire him immediately.
Mayor Kirt Briggs said he looked to the community response and the International City/County Management Association’s code of ethics, which calls on city employees to “demonstrate by word and action the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in all public, professional, and personal relationships.”
“This is something that we hold very near and dear,” Briggs said.
In a press release issued by the city following the meeting, Briggs wrote the termination was in the “best interest of our employees and our residents.”
“Our job is to promote public confidence in the integrity of the administration of city government,” Briggs wrote. “Charges of this nature impact that trust.”
Assistant City Manager Lori Olson will be interim city manager until the city can permanently fill the position.
Council members couldn’t say much about what information they’d received during the closed session, but Councilman Kevin Burkart told the small crowd of residents that his first question in the session was whether there was any doubt about the allegations.
“They said this was very black-and-white and not a he-said-she-said,” Burkart said, adding it was all he needed to hear.
Plante was released from the Scott County Jail on bail Aug. 16. The case was transferred to the Carver County Attorney’s Office on Friday to avoid any conflict of interest, the city announced in a news release. Plante’s first appearance in court is scheduled for Oct. 4.
The county’s charges were coupled with allegations by Plante’s wife and ex-wife of a history of abusive behavior, according to two temporary domestic abuse no-contact orders filed the day of his release. His ex-wife wrote in her filing that she “left the family home and initiated divorce proceedings due to increased violence in our home.”
Plante moved to the city in February to take on the city manager role after Frank Boyles retired. He was selected by DDA Human Resources, a consulting firmed hired by the city, as one of the top candidates for the position.
He studied law at Hamline University before becoming a county attorney for Hubbard and Wabasha counties and then county administrator at Wabasha County.