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Bozeman leaders mull action on city manager following leaked video

Jackie Coffin
City of Bozeman call

At a packed special meeting Monday evening, Bozeman City Commissioners asked besmirched City Manager Jeff Mihelich to resign by Wednesday.

Calls for Mihelich's resignation follow a widely-circulated video of him grousing about Mayor Terry Cunningham and Deputy Mayor Joey Morrison, as well as other commissioners and public employees. The leaked video shows Mihelich in a private conversation on a video call with a city employee in which he also boasts about a lucrative job opportunity in Texas and badmouths residents.

Mayor Cunningham reacted to the video.

“It was heartbreaking for the community, it was a gut punch for us all. The content of the video is disturbing but equally notable is how quickly and comfortably the conversation turned to one critical of staff, the commission and citizens. To me this indicates this may be familiar ground.”

Commissioners received more than 100 comments from the public before the nearly 3-hour meeting and heard lengthy public comment during.

“My name is Hudson Hart, I’ve lived in Bozeman for 29 years. Mr. Mihelich does not represent me, my family, or many of my fellow Bozemanites.”

Bozeman City Attorney Greg Sullivan confirmed the Commission has the power to remove Mihelich, but it would come with 12 months of his salary and 18 percent of the annual salary put in a retirement fund. If Mihelich resigns, he would not get that payout.

Mihelich has been on paid administrative leave since February 1. He issued a statement apologizing to the Commission, City staff, and Bozeman residents. Neither Mihelich nor any representatives for him spoke at Monday's meeting.

Sarah Kanter Brown is the producer of YPR’s Field Days. A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, Brown has worked at newspapers and magazines nationwide.