Weather Forecast


Hastings council votes to put fire chief back to work after leave

Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt appears headed back to work.

The City Council voted 4-3 on Tuesday, Nov. 28, that no disciplinary action would be taken against Schutt, following an investigation launched over two months ago.

City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee said Schutt will return to his role "following some paperwork and other logistics."

The council held a closed door meeting lasting more than two-and-a-half hours for preliminary consideration of allegations against Schutt. Following the closed door meeting, they met in open session and voted to reinstate Schutt.

Council members Tina Folch, Joe Balsanek, Lisa Leifeld and Trevor Lund voted in support of upholding a grievance, effectively sending Schutt back to work. Mayor Paul Hicks and council members Mark Vaughan and Lori Braucks voted against.

Schutt was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 30. An ongoing city investigation took place while he was on leave. Mesko Lee confirmed on Sept. 26 that the investigation was under review.

Schutt, the fire and EMS director, 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.

Schutt could not be reached immediately for comment.

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.

(651) 319-4503