Administrator quits after tongue-lashing
After he was sharply criticized at Monday’s city council meeting, Marion city administrator Brogan Jones resigned Tuesday morning.
In a letter hand delivered to council members Tuesday morning, Jones wrote: “I am writing this and four other letters to members of the Marion City Council to formally submit my letter of resignation as the city administrator of the City of Marion.
“I appreciate the personal and professional development that the city of Marion has provided to me during my time here.
“I want to express my gratitude to the city of Marion for the support and encouragement that I have received from the citizens, and the staff. It has been a pleasure to serve the city of Marion. I am thankful that I was able to work with such a dedicated and talented team during my time here.
“I will ensure a smooth transition of my responsibilities and a detailed list of all current business/tasks being conducted before my departure.
“Thank you again for the support, but the time has come that I need to do what is best for myself and my family. This, after much thought, is my resignation of my position as city administrator. As per the terms of our agreement, I have provided this written notice with 60 days notice. My last day of employment with the City of Marion will be 1/12/2024.”
Vice Mayor Ruth Herbel confronted Jones at the council meeting over his having forwarded to other council members an Aug. 4 email she sent expressing concern over whether restaurant owner Kari Newell should receive a liquor license after losing her driver’s license years ago.
“I would like to know why you sent a confidential email to four council members that I sent you and you alone,” Herbel told Jones. “Had I known this confidential information was shared, I would have asked you to forward it. The email contained personal information that was not meant to be shared.
“The email that you sent has become the center of the raids that happened Aug. 11 at the Marion County Record, Mr. (Eric) Meyer’s home, and my home, and the loss of a very prominent citizen.”
When councilman Zach Collett got the email, he contacted Kari Newell and told her about it, Herbel said.
Herbel read two of Collett’s emails to Newell, quoting him as saying Herbel would try to get a liquor license denied and reading his words.
“I believe this is her and Eric’s attempt to get back at you for last week” she quoted Collett’s email as saying, and that Collett would be “very vocal about it” during a council meeting later that day.
Newell showed up at that meeting to complain about her driving record being obtained and accused Herbel of illegally obtaining it to prevent her from getting a liquor license.
“To you, Brogan, you are the only one I had shared this information with,” Herbel said, “so the leak must have come from your office. You said that you had not shared with anyone. I was at a loss as to how this information had gotten out.
“You yourself made this information public for all to see and hear. I have lost all trust in you as a city administrator.
“I also hold you responsible for the death of (Record co-owner) Joan Meyer. It all started with the release of the confidential email I sent to you, and now I’d like to hear you say why you reported this email to the council.”
She said Jones had denied sending her email to other council members when she confronted him about it in August.
Jones responded: “I didn’t say that. I said I didn’t tell nobody but council. That is my direct quote.”
“You are a liar,” Herbel said.
“I told no one but the council,” Jones insisted in a raised voice.
Collett interjected that Herbel and Jones should have a conversation instead of yelling at each other.
Lowering her voice, Herbel said the episode was just one of the lies Jones had told her in the three months since the Aug. 11 raid.
“I believe once a liar is always a liar, and the lies just keep getting bigger and bigger. This is not a good way to start your career as an administrator,” she said.
Jones had nothing further to say about what Herbel said.
Last modified Nov. 16, 2023