WESTMINSTER — The resignations of two city workers are strictly related to "job performance" and the matter remains an internal issue, city officials said.
Mayor W. Benjamin Brown accepted the resignation Friday afternoon of Jonathan W. Frenzel, assistant director of the Public Works Department, who had been on paid leave for about a week. He had turnedin his resignation Wednesday.
Kevin C. Bode, supervisor in the city's Planning Department, resigned the week before. His resignation has been accepted by the mayor.
A third city worker, William S. Mowell, director of public works,has taken a paid leave. Mowell, who would not comment on the matter,also is expected to resign, Council President William F. Haifley said.
In the interim, Thomas B. Beyard, the city's director of planning, is serving as acting director of public works.
Brown said the shake-up has not affected operations at City Hall, and snow removal during the area's second winter storm went smoothly Thursday.
The mayor said the two resignations stemmed from how the workers were using their hours on city time and how they were performing their duties.
"We're not conducting a criminal investigation," he said. "It's strictly a personnel issue."
He declined to elaborate further, saying, "I don't see how I can comment in this situation."
Brown said further comments on the situation would have to come from the employees involved.
Frenzel, who has worked for the city for four years, said, "The only thing I can add is that I've resigned from employmentwith the City of Westminster in order to seek more rewarding employment."
The 32-year-old city resident added he had a "couple of nicelooking opportunities."
Bode could not be reached for comment.
Neither Councilman Kenneth Yowan nor Councilwoman Rebecca Orenstein,chair of the Personnel Committee, would comment.
"It would reallybe inappropriate for me to comment," Orenstein said.
Workers at the Public Works Department also declined to comment.
Haifley said the mayor has kept council members apprised of the situation. He alsosaid that "at this point, we do support" the personnel actions.
Haifley said he didn't know when the positions would be filled.
"Wehaven't met to discuss that yet," he said. "We've been waiting finalization of the other positions before we even discuss what's next."
City officials are within their legal rights to keep the matter mum.
"It's certainly not unusual for people to say such things are personnel issues and they don't want to get into it," said Jim Peck, a Maryland Municipal League spokesman.
"Since the Open Meetings Law has been on the books, one of the specific reasons (government bodies) have been able to go into closed session is to discuss personnel issues.
"It's because of the nature of the beast."
The MML doesn't have a policy or guidelines for cities to follow on personnel matters.
"We don't have a policy ourselves on it," he said. "We pretty much don't get into stuff like that," Peck said.
"Whatever folks want to do is part of the beauty of home rule."