Top Alerus Center officials put on paid leave
GRAND FORKS - Two senior Alerus Center officials were placed on paid administrative leave on Friday pending a third-party investigation into a complaint lodged against them, Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland said Saturday.Alerus Center E...
GRAND FORKS - Two senior Alerus Center officials were placed on paid administrative leave on Friday pending a third-party investigation into a complaint lodged against them, Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland said Saturday.
Alerus Center Executive Director Cheryl Swanson and Bob LeBarron, assistant director and ticket office manager, were placed on administrative leave for up to 30 days by Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown, Feland said.
"I would say it's due to workplace concerns regarding management, leadership and workplace environmental issues," Feland said. "Early this week, the Human Resource Department had received a concern from the Alerus Center staff regarding workplace issues that needed to be followed up with. Essentially, I got engaged because our HR department got contacted by the Alerus Center staff."
Feland said a third-party investigation, commissioned by the city at a cost of about $8,000, is looking into the matter. Feland, who was contacted by the Herald on Saturday while traveling to Bismarck, did not immediately recall the name of the investigating group.
"I think with the number of employees, board members-in order to conduct a thorough and expedited review and investigation, we thought a third party would be the best way to handle it," Feland said. He estimated the investigation would be finished within two weeks, giving the mayor the ability to review results and determine if further action is necessary.
The Herald contacted Feland after receiving a credible tip on the suspensions. A similar tip led the Herald to report earlier this week that Dale Bergman, a transportation division director for Cities Area Transit, also had been placed on paid leave for up to 30 days about three weeks ago for what Feland called "workplace issues."
Opened in 2001, the Alerus Center is owned by the city, Feland said, and Swanson and LeBarron are both considered city staff members. He added the mayor also may consult with the Alerus Center Commission, a body that oversees the facility, for guidance.
The Herald was unable to reach neither Swanson nor LeBarron immediately for comment.
Feland said Darryl Jorgenson, finance manager at the Alerus Center, will assume leadership duties on an interim basis.