DILWORTH - Members of the Police Department here have asked that their police chief, Joshua Ebert, voluntarily resign or for the city to request his resignation.
Officers made their request in a letter addressed to city officials. They wanted to publicly express their "vote of no confidence in the ability of Chief Josh Ebert to manage our Police Department" at Monday night's City Council meeting.
When Officer Brad Browning stood to address the council, Mayor Chad Olson said it was not the time and place for the complaint. Despite Browning's multiple attempts to speak, Olson said there were policies and procedures to be followed, and told Browning he would have to file the complaint through the proper channels.
Olson accepted a copy of the letter. He declined to speak with media after the meeting.
Ebert was on "temporary relief of duty" Monday.
Just before Monday's council meeting, City Administrator Ken Parke said there was no official complaint filed against Ebert and that the decision for his relief of duty was made Friday due to an internal issue.
"It was something I felt had to be done at the time," Parke said. He made it clear that Ebert's leave was not "suspension" and that Ebert would be back at work today.
Parke also said he first heard of the officers' letter just prior to the meeting.
It is unclear whether Ebert's leave from work and the officers' complaint are related.
Ebert attended the meeting in uniform but declined to comment.
"There will be a time and place for that, but now is not the time," he said.
After Browning was unable to make the officers' statement before the City Council, he and two other officers left the meeting. All three were not in uniform.
Browning read their statement to the media after the meeting and provided a copy of the letter.
He said the issues behind the officers' vote of no confidence in Ebert were addressed in two previous meetings, one on May 9 with a union representative and another on Aug. 29 with Parke and police officers and staff.
The concerns discussed in those meetings focused on Ebert's administrative duties, including scheduling, hiring and budgeting, according to the letter.
Browning also said city officials have stated that the complaints may be motivated by officers who also applied for the police chief position internally and are not giving Ebert a fair chance.
In response to those concerns, the letter states: "The applicants officially and publically rescind any applications or expressed interest in the position."
The letter was signed by six people. The city of Dilworth employs six full-time police officers and two part-time officers.
Ebert was hired as police chief in February and started the job March 1.