Seward City Administrator Will Keep His Job, Gets Full Support of Council

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SEWARD, Neb. -- In Seward, the city council voted 8-0 Thursday in favor of keeping City Administrator Brett Baker in his current position.

Some, including Mayor Josh Eickmeier, wanted to see Baker terminated from his job.

Earlier this week, city employees and administrative assistants were called in to testify in front of the city council on why they think Baker is unfit for the position.

Angry, tense, and retaliatory were just some of the words used to describe Baker at that time.

However, Thursday afternoon at the Community Hall, the city council heard more testimony, this time in Baker's defense. For instance, Lynn Rex, the Executive Director of Nebraska Municipalities, described Baker as "extremely professional" with "tremendous skill sets."

"We do anticipate there's going to be some awkwardness," Charles Lieske, of the city's council, said.

"We're hoping that we can move forward as a city and come together as a team."

In the end, Baker keeps his job with a unanimous show of support from the council.

"[Baker] and the department heads," Alan Peterson, Baker's attorney, said, "who have been at odds at times, need to get together for joint work on that. I don't think it's just Brett and I don't think it's just them."

The council is requiring Baker to take part in classes to improve his communication skills and ability to work with other coworkers.

A failure to work on these skills may result in a possible suspension.

Monday's Hearing:

Controversy in the small town of Seward continues as the mayor and other city employees explain why they want their city administrator gone.

The Seward City Council acted like a jury in what seemed like a court trial in regards to the possible termination of City Administrator, Brett Baker.

Attorneys representing Mayor Josh Eickmeier and City Administrator Brett Baker, along with city employees and residents residents, listened in on the hearing that started at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

City employees and administrative assistants were called in to testify on why they think Baker is unfit for his current position. Citing a hostile and sometimes tense work environment, city employees said working with Baker was almost unbearable.

Evidence and official documents were also used in the hearing, some examples dating back to 2013. Angry, tense, and retaliatory were just some of the words used to describe Baker.

Some even said, when going against Baker's demands, he acted against them and forced them out of their jobs.

As Baker shook his head in disbelief for some of the statements.

While some city workers claim their concerns over Baker were overlooked by the mayor, many complainants admitted never openly approaching Baker about their issues to discuss them one-on-one.

Baker's defense attorney didn't take the allegations lightly. The word "hearsay" was often used in response to leading questions and claims by the prosecution.

Both the mayor and city administrator declined 10/11's request for comment.