Without explaining its decision after a closed-door meeting, the Montgomery City Council recently fired Police Chief John Schmidt. The Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office agreed to take over supervision of the city’s police department.
The termination was effective March 30. The city is awaiting a potential appeal from Schmidt. He has until Friday (April 14) to appeal the city council’s decision, the Montgomery Messenger said.
The council went behind closed doors March 30 to discuss the issue regarding its police chief, three days after Schmidt was served notice of the city’s plans to terminate his contract. To eschew a void in leadership of the department, the city approved turning control of administrative duties of its police department over to the Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office. The city will pay the county up to $24,000 for 480 hours of supervisory work. The police department’s ranks include three full-time officers and seven part-timers.
As for the reason the city council fired Schmidt, the department’s chief since 2000 and a 25-plus-year member of the Montgomery Police Department, the city provided no specifics on the chief’s termination. The city cited the Minnesota Data Practices Act for its silence. City Administrator Brian Heck indicated there had been an investigation into Schmidt from outside the city.
If Schmidt does not appeal the council’s decision, the rationale for his termination should become public, according to Minnesota Newspaper Association Attorney Mark Anfinson.