Hyde Park City insists employee who pointed a gun at staff was isolated incident

The City of Hyde Park says it stands by its decision to suspend a city employee rather than demote him for pointing a gun during a staff meeting.

Hyde Park Public Works Director Mike Grunig was demoted by Mayor Sheridean Flint on February 12, 2019 after two men say Grunig pointed a gun at them during a staff meeting.

Grunig appealed the demotion to the city council and “based on the facts, policies, and laws involved, we (council members) determined that suspension was a more appropriate discipline than demotion,” according to statement released by Hyde Park City.

Kolby Christiansen and Justin Bodrero were two of  three employees in the room at the time of the incident. They have both resigned from their public works positions, citing “constructive termination” and have since filed a formal grievance with the city.

According to their attorney Sam Goble, the incident happened on November 18, 2018. Christiansen and Bodrero claim they were in a staff meeting with Grunig when he pulled out a weapon. “They all hear the slide, because they are proficient with weapons,” said Goble. “Because he hears a slide, Justin Brodrero looks up and Mike is pointing the gun at them and Mike activated the laser and points the laser right at the center of his chest and says, ‘Wouldn’t Justin look good with a dot on his forehead.’”

Goble said Grunig also pointed the gun at Christiansen.

According to Goble, the two men never reported the incident because, “these guys know from experience that Mike has lied to get out of trouble before and Mike has really good friends on the council and they jointly decide that they are not going to cause trouble because it’s not going to go anywhere.”

The two eventually report the incident in January after their attorney said they learned of a similar complaint.

Mayor Flint immediately requested a police investigation which resulted in no criminal action. She then suspended and demoted Grunig, cutting his pay. Grunig later appealed to the city council and was reinstated on March 4th.

This allegation was taken very, very seriously on the part of the council,” said city councilman Bret Randall.

“All we did was amend the Mayor’s decision to demote and take money from him. We did suspend him without pay, which was a pretty substantial penalty,” said Randall.

Goble said Bodrero and Christiansen were not given notice of the March 4th hearing and were not properly informed of their rights nor allowed to present their side of the story.

“Mike was the only witness,” according to Goble. “They didn’t bring anyone in who could voice the other side, including the Mayor. But they brought in Mike’s wife, they brought in the former Mayor and they let the son-in law, who’s on the council, remain there knowing he was a son-in-law.”

Randall categorically denies that claim. He was in the room during the appellate hearing and said neither Grunig’s wife nor the former mayor were in the room during the proceeding. The only people in the hearing, according to Randall, were city council members, the city attorney, Grunig and his attorney.

According to the statement, “The City Council was well informed of the facts and complaint. Our actions are not to undermine or downplay the serious nature of Mr. Grunig’s actions. The City Council had a narrow scope of issues to consider, and could not consider issues beyond that scope.”

The statement continued, “As it regards the former employees who have made comments regarding the city’s actions, we would like to state that the city has heard the grievance. The city strongly disagrees that their rights were violated. However, we recognize and appreciate the work they have performed for the city and wished that they would have chosen to stay with the city. They Mayor has had several conversations with them, both before and after their resignation, and the city continues to offer them employment with the city. The city is certain that we can resolve all parties’ concerns amicably.”

“Our employees will return to employment with the city the minute they do not have to deal with Mike Grunig,” according to Goble.

The city isn’t listening. The problem is Mike Gurnig and at this point it is apparent they are too close to Mr. Grunig to make an objective decision,” Goble continued.

The city, according to Randall, is required by law to follow specific restrictions and procedures regarding employees.

“All of these people are saying all of these negative things about him and yet there’s nothing documented, nothing, zero, naughta,” Randall said. “There’s nothing in his personnel file that would indicate he’s a bad supervisor and the court doesn’t look at what people think, say or hear. They only care about what’s documented.”

“We are very concerned about this isolated incident,” according to the statement released by the city. “We want to assure our residents and those that do business with Hyde Park that they are safe. We feel confident this was an isolated incident. We feel the comments and statements being circulated through social media have not always been accurate and are counter productive.”

The city is referring in part to an internet petition calling for Mike Grunig to be fired. More than one thousand people have signed the petition.

Hyde Park City said it will continue to review its procedures, policies and actions to “ensure all city officials and employees are serving our community in the best ways possible.”

Goble insists if current policies and procedures were followed in the first place, Bodrero and Christiansen wouldn’t have been placed in the position they are currently in.


Full Statement on Recent Events in Hyde Park City

We, the Hyde Park City Council and Mayor, would like to take the opportunity to address and clarify some issues regarding Mr. Grunig, the City public works director, and the former city employees who have recently made statements regarding the incident, disciplinary actions, and appeal process.

We were very concerned about this isolated incident. We want to assure our residents and those that do business with Hyde Park that they are safe. We feel confident this was an isolated incident. We feel the comments and statements being circulated through social media have not always been accurate and are counter-productive. We hope that as residents we can move forward and come together to address the issues facing the city.
As a City Council and Mayor, every action we take requires us to balance and weigh multiple interests and legal rights. As we do so, we are always focused on reaching fair solutions that protect the rights of the City and those the City serves. As part of this balancing and weighing, the City, as a governmental employer, has a number of restrictions and procedures regarding employment that it is required by law to follow. These restrictions and procedures are unique to governmental employers and protect both the City and its employees. In particular, there are due process requirements before a public employer may impact a public employee’s job.

Regarding Mr. Grunig, the City Council was required to review the Mayor’s decision to retain and demote Mr. Grunig by way of his appeal. The City Council was well informed of the facts and complaints. Based on the facts, policies, and laws involved, we determined that suspension was a more appropriate discipline than demotion. Our actions are not to undermine or downplay the serious nature of Mr. Grunig’s actions. The City Council had a narrow scope of issues to consider, and could not consider issues beyond that scope. All of the other comments related to other acts by Mr. Grunig were not part of the appeal. It should be noted that former mayor Bob Christensen was not part of the appeal. All facts, state law, and constitutional guidelines were known and acted upon. The complex legal and factual issues involved in these kinds of determinations are difficult to summarize in a short article or statement. We would urge everyone to read our written decision that more fully addresses these issues in order to better understand our actions.

As it regards the former employees who have made comments regarding the City’s actions, we would like to state that the City has heard the grievance. The City strongly disagrees that their rights were violated. However, we recognize and appreciate the work they have performed for the City and wished that they would have chosen to stay with the City. The mayor has had several conversations with them, both before and after their resignation, and the City continues to offer them employment with the City. The City is certain that we can resolve all parties’ concerns amicably.

We, like all Hyde Park citizens, are striving to do our best for our city. We express our hope that all City employees will be able to work together to continue to make Hyde Park a wonderful place to work and live. We are currently reworking our policies to match state guidelines. And we will continue to review our procedures, policies, and actions to ensure that all City officials and employees are serving our community in the best ways possible.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

14 Comments

  • Megan Christiansen March 26, 2019 at 7:39 pm Reply

    This just makes me sick! My family has been deeply affected…. How could my husband go to work in this situation while knowing those who are higher up are not protecting his safety? I would be a terrible wife if I allowed him to. I would like to know if the tables were turned what these people would think? Would they wonder if this was the day they wouldn’t make it home to their family? Would they think of all the things that they would miss out on with their children growing up? Would their life change and never be the same in that one instance? Did they lose the ability to find joy in the things they did before? My heart hurts for those men who had to feel those emotions and their families! I am living it with my husband every day and I wish my husband didn’t have to go through this.

    • Shannon & Lori Follett March 26, 2019 at 11:19 pm Reply

      Megan, We are so sorry to hear your family has to go through this. It’s wrong. We all know that. Is there any employer that would tolerate this? Absolutely not and they shouldn’t. If the tables were turned and your husband or Justin pulled a gun on Mike, would they still have a job? Of course not. We support your position and so do the 1,000 + petitioners.

    • Tammy March 27, 2019 at 5:31 am Reply

      I feel terrible for you and your husband Megan. I can’t even imagine how he must have felt that day. If that was me, I would have called the police the second I managed to get myself to safety. This is ridiculous. Not only should he lose his job, he should face charges.

  • Warren s Pugh March 26, 2019 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Oh Oh. Lawyers and $$$$$$ are on the way, with no guarantee the perpetrator
    will not return. Of course some will say it is highly unlikely, but that too is farcical
    in that the original incident was not expected either. Shall we guess how long this
    will take. The longer it does the more $$$$$. Of course it is not $50M like the
    greed choked collusion charade.

  • Susan Smart March 26, 2019 at 8:56 pm Reply

    I frankly don’t want to hear anything the mayor or Council has to say except why wasn’t Grunig fired on the spot?! What kind of numbskulls are you. The title of this indicating it only happened once is completely assanine. How many criminal reports of killing someone say he never did it before! Well, ONCE is enough to commit the crime and snuff the life. Congratulations, no where but in Hyde Park would such assanine behavior be tolerated by the citizens that the victims are penalized!

  • Pablo March 26, 2019 at 9:05 pm Reply

    From my perspective, if a gun was indeed pointed at an individual at work as described in this article, the gunman should be fired. (pun intended).

  • Pablo March 26, 2019 at 9:09 pm Reply

    From my perspective, if an individual at work points a gun at a coworker as described in this article, the gunman should be fired (pun intended)

  • Jen March 26, 2019 at 11:25 pm Reply

    This is a joke! I’m any other place people would recognize the seriousness of the situation! Hey everyone with guns. You have the right to attend the next Hyde Park city council meeting and point them at whomever you want – they don’t care and won’t think it’s a big deal! Maybe they’ll even pay for your next vacation —— that’s exactly what they did for the last person who did it!

  • Rick Hepworth March 27, 2019 at 7:03 am Reply

    From time to time throughout my life I have heard of “isolated instances” where people have been killed by “empty” or “unloaded” weapons. The city council and mayor need to be replaced by the citizens of Hyde Park, or the citizens are showing that they, themselves have settled for a much lower standard of behavior from those who run their city.

  • Lesli March 27, 2019 at 2:00 pm Reply

    “An isolated incident.” Give me a break. Stupidest excuse ever for excusing something criminal.

  • Susan Kleinsmith March 27, 2019 at 6:31 pm Reply

    Trust me… if “John Doe” had done this he would have been fired on the spot! WTH is wrong with the Mayor in Hyde Park? Apparently Grunig has something on everyone to be allowed to keep his job.

  • Amanda March 29, 2019 at 2:31 pm Reply

    I was taught in my concealed weapon course, taught by a qualified retired police officer, that if you brandish a gun without having cause to (i.e. protecting yourself or someone else from bodily injury and/or death) you better be prepared to spend some time in jail no if and or buts. This guy, who holds a a high respective position for Hyde Park City, does it and not only does he do it but in a threatening manner to get his point across to his employees none the less. Not only is this wrong in so many ways but then the mayor and city council of Hyde Park stand behind him by saying it was an isolated incident and the only punishment he will receive is 1 week off of work. Um…a person that holds a school or office building hostage or shoots the place up would also be considered and isolated incident then. This sends the wrong message to everyone, young and old, people who live in an out of Hyde Park!!! Hey kids…did you know you can point guns at people now. Here you go ….run and play.
    I’ve heard, “It wasn’t loaded. There was no real threat.” I want those people to look at their kids/loved ones and tell them you are okay if they point guns at people just as long as they’re not loaded.

  • James Hansen March 29, 2019 at 5:11 pm Reply

    A young Teenager was killed just a few days ago from a supposedly unloaded gun his brother was playing with. YOU NEVER ASSUME THE GUN IS UNLOADED! Even if he was sure it was you never ever ever assume it is and point it at any person you don’t intend to shoot. What is so hard about that point for the city council to understand? What part of work place violence don’t they understand? What part employee harassment don’t they understand? I happen to know one of the men involved and it was not a JOKE or FUN. Plain and simple this cities council is either very very naive, uneducated, or just plain stupid or they don’t give a damn about any employee except the good ol boys at the top! This is the message they are sending to every other employee not to mention the rest of the country. I was actally hoping to buy a house in the town this year sometime but have now decided that I refuse to live in a place with such disregard for it’s employee and it’s citizens. As long as he works for that city every person living there should be worried for their own safety as he obviously has started having serious lapses of reason which could happen again and maybe next time it will be a neighbor kid that pisses him off. Any mentally stable person would NEVER do this and especially to people that work directly under them in the work place. SO VERY WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS. OUR COUNTRY IS DOOMED IF THIS IS THE TYPE OF PEOPLE WE ARE VOTING IN TO RUN OUR TOWNS!

  • James Hansen March 29, 2019 at 5:14 pm Reply

    A young Teenager was killed just a few days ago from a supposedly unloaded gun his brother was playing with. YOU NEVER ASSUME THE GUN IS UNLOADED! Even if he was sure it was you never ever ever assume it is and point it at any person you don’t intend to shoot. What is so hard about that point for the city council to understand? What part of work place violence don’t they understand? What part employee harassment don’t they understand? I happen to know one of the men involved and it was not a JOKE or FUN. Plain and simple this cities council is either very very naive, uneducated, or just plain stupid or they don’t give a damn about any employee except the good ol boys at the top! This is the message they are sending to every other employee not to mention the rest of the country. I was actually hoping to buy a house in the town this year sometime but have now decided that I refuse to live in a place with such disregard for it’s employee and it’s citizens. As long as he works for that city every person living there should be worried for their own safety as he obviously has started having serious lapses of reason which could happen again and maybe next time it will be a neighbor kid that pisses him off. Any mentally stable person would NEVER do this and especially to people that work directly under them in the work place. SO VERY WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS. OUR COUNTRY IS DOOMED IF THIS IS THE TYPE OF PEOPLE WE ARE VOTING IN TO RUN OUR TOWNS!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.