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Council will file complaint

By Christina Killion Valdez

ckillion@postbulletin.com

The Austin City Council approved an administrative complaint Monday against Austin Fire Chief Dan Wilson for his behavior during a confrontation with a resident at a public meeting in February.

The council passed a resolution to lodge the complaint during a special board meeting Monday night, held immediately after an hour-long closed session during which the council discussed possible discipline of the fire chief. Council member Brian McAlister cast the only vote against the measure in the 6-1 vote for filing the complaint.

The council sought additional information after a closed session on the matter last week in advance of Monday’s decision.

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Possible disciplinary measures that the city can take range from a 60-day suspension to a letter of reprimand, said Mayor Tom Stiehm.

The complaint and possible disciplinary measures stem from an alleged confrontation Wilson had with a resident at a fire committee meeting Feb. 12. The incident was investigated by an Albert Lea police officer, who forwarded the reports to an Albert Lea attorney, who reviewed and determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to bring criminal charges against Wilson. The investigation and legal determination were done by outside officials to make sure there was no appearance of a conflict of interest.

Once Wilson receives the complaint, he has the opportunity to respond, either agreeing with the action proposed by the council or challenging it, said David Hoversten, Austin’s city attorney.

The information about the complaint and the proposed penalty is private, under the state’s Data Practices Act.

"He has certain rights to initiate, if he so chooses," Hoversten said.

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