The Minot City Council voted Monday to immediately fire City Manager Tom Barry, after an independent investigator found that he created a hostile work environment for city employees and opened the city up to possible lawsuits.
“Termination is the only appropriate option” was the final conclusion of attorney Patricia Monson’s 24-page report as described by Alderman Stephan Podrygula.
Monson was hired in March to investigate Barry’s actions. She concluded that city employees were subject to a hostile environment and may have had their constitutional rights to free speech violated.
The report, which you can read in its entirety here, also found that Barry and the City of Minot are vulnerable to lawsuits.
The Minot City Council first voted to recommend that Barry resign his position immediately. Following that vote, Barry declined to do so, saying he would seek advisement from his own legal counsel before making a decision.
The Council then voted unanimously to terminate Barry’s employment.
The investigation into Barry’s conduct began after the Minot City Council voted to open the investigation after local political blogger Rob Port uncovered city documents prepared by City Manager Barry.
Those forms were apparently given to several city employees, asking whether they ever spoke to the blogger or disparaged city leaders. The documents included threats of discipline or termination.
Speaking to the council after they voted to fire him, Barry thanked them for giving him the chance to serve the city. “I have a lot left to learn, evidently,” he said.
The firing of Barry will be a matter of some cost to the city, according to Monson’s report. “With the recent renewal of the City Manager’s contract, the City agreed to pay the City Manager a full year’s salary if he is terminated before the actual termination date of the agreement which is August 11, 2025,” the report reads.
Barry had served as City Manager since the fall of 2016.