BOZEMAN — City Manager Jeff Mihelich has been placed on paid administrative leave after a leaked video call showed him venting about colleagues and the Bozeman community, according to a City of Bozeman press release.
The release said Mihelich was placed on leave effective Feb. 1, 2024, and Assistant City Manager Kira Peters has been appointed to act in his place until Tuesday, Feb. 6, when Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn can assume the Acting City Manager position.
The Bozeman City Commission will hold a meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, during which "Bozeman’s elected body will address next steps for the City Manager," according to the release.
“We hope residents know that we are taking this event seriously and are committed to communicating through it,” Mayor Terry Cunningham stated in the release. “This is not reflective of the organization that we are trying to build and of the many employees who dutifully and respectfully serve the public every day.”
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The City says the video that surfaced on social media Tuesday evening was recorded at the end of a leadership meeting earlier in January. In it, Community Development Director Anna Bentley remains on the call with Mihelich, who proceeds to speak critically about Bozeman’s new mayor, Terry Cunningham.
In another exchange with Bentley, Mihelich appears to take a swipe at a community member; later in the recording, he details another job offer to be city manager in Austin, Texas and criticizes newly-elected Deputy Mayor Joey Morrison.
On Wednesday, Mihelich issued a statement that read, “A video has been posted of me having a conversation with a colleague. We both thought that this was a private conversation and never imagined it would be posted anywhere publicly. More importantly, I made some careless comments in a moment of stress and frustration that I deeply regret. I apologize to the Commission, to City staff, and most importantly, to Bozeman residents for the way I conducted myself. This type of incident will not happen again and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to regain the trust of our community.”
According to the release, city functions continue as normal. The city commission meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 6 will be held and will include the ratification of Mihelich's administrative leave. No other discussion of the video will occur until the special meeting on Feb. 12.
The Feb. 12 meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 121 N. Rouse Ave., and online here: https://www.bozeman.net/departments/city-commission/meeting-videos
The Bozeman City Commission is accepting public comment regarding the video or any other issue via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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