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Hastings fire chief remains on leave; investigation complete

A city investigation of Hastings Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt has been completed but the chief remains on paid administrative leave.

The investigation is now under review by City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee, she said Tuesday, Sept. 26. Lee said that she cannot speak to when the review will be complete, but she does wish to come to a determination soon.

Schutt was placed on paid leave Aug. 30 and the city launched an investigation. John Townsend, assistant fire and EMS director, has carried out fire chief responsibilities during Schutt's absence.

Schutt has led the department since 2007. As fire chief, he earns $121,961 annually.

State law prohibits the public release of information about a complaint made against a government employee and details of the investigation unless there is final disposition of disciplinary action following the investigation. If there is no discipline, information about the complaint and investigation cannot be made public.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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