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Warren puts city clerk on paid leave during investigation

C.T. Marhula

The city of Warren, Minn., placed its clerk/treasurer, the top city employee, on paid administrative leave Wednesday during an investigation into allegations by employees about C.T. Marhula's management style and treatment of employees.

Marhula, a former Grand Forks School Board member, lives in Grand Forks and was hired just a year ago in Warren.

Mayor Robert Kliner said Brandon Fitzsimmons, a labor attorney with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, of which Warren is a member, is advising the City Council on the matter and leading the investigation.

"I initiated the investigation," Kliner said. It sprang from grievances from employees, he said, citing Marhula's management skill and style as another cause. "Some of it is the way he's treated some of the other employees."

The City Council met Tuesday night for more than three hours, including about two hours in closed session discussing the Marhula matter, Kliner said. Neither employees nor Marhula addressed the council Tuesday night.

Marhula was at work Wednesday and said from his office in Warren he was simply trying to do the best job he could, working with good employees, and declined any further comment.

Under Warren's charter city government, Marhula is the top manager. Warren has about 1,700 people and is about 25 miles northeast of Grand Forks.

During Marhula's leave, deputy clerk/treasurer Nancy Holub will do his job, Kliner said.

Marhula is paid about $55,000 a year.

A former member of the Grand Forks School Board and longtime employee of Nodak Rural Electric Cooperative, Marhula has been a visible and oft-heard activist in the local Democratic Party and in local politics in Grand Forks. He has run for Grand Forks County Commission.

Marhula was hired in Warren to replace Bob Brooks, who held the job seven years. Brooks, like Marhula, commuted from Grand Forks. Brooks, who died last year, was a longtime member of the Grand Forks City Council.

Kliner said there are no allegations of any criminal nature and the city is in good financial shape.

Marhula's leave is "nondisciplinary" and includes full pay and benefits, Kliner said.

"I hope it gets cleared up within the next couple of weeks," said Kliner, a part-time mayor, is a line foreman for PKM Electric Co-op in Warren.