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MIDVALE MANAGER CLEARED OF WRONGDOING

An independent investigator cleared Mike Siler of any criminal wrongdoing but told the City Council on Tuesday he did discover "some critical administrative and management issues" during his two-month probe of alleged misconduct by Midvale's city manager.

The council will decide later how to deal with those concerns, City Attorney Martin Pezely said.David Church, an attorney who also works for the Utah League of Cities and Towns, was hired to conduct the inquiry after a group of residents, business people and city employees complained that Siler had harassed or threatened them. Church presented his findings to the council Tuesday in a 11/2-hour closed session, at which Siler was present.

"These things are never easy. At best, they're bad," said Pezely, who made only a brief public statement about the investigation during Tuesday's regular council meeting.

Church refused to comment on the probe.

Ronn Cowley, a former city councilman who brought the concerns to the city's attention, said afterward that he never suspected Siler of criminal misconduct. He said he was most concerned about Siler's alleged "abusive" behavior toward citizens and employees.

"Now I'm concerned that those issues won't get addressed properly," Cowley said. "And I'm concerned that if they don't, the relationship between the city and the businesses won't get better."

Siler said Wednesday he felt "absolutely vindicated" by Church's report. He said even though Cowley may not have accused him of criminal behavior, there was a public perception that illegal activity was at the crux of the investigation.

"I want to make sure my name is cleared publicly. It's really unfortunate that the implications were out there," he said. "Literally, there were only three employees in the city who had any complaint at all, and I have to say the bulk of their complaints were un-found-ed."

Siler said some business owners who complained about him apparently were influenced by one city employee.

"I've never had direct contact with any of these business people who raised the question," he said.

"I am going to do the best I can to work out any management differences that I have with employees who are concerned, and I hope we can keep the benefit of the city and the taxpayers in mind as we do that."

Siler said he did not have an opportunity to defend himself Tuesday but said a second closed session would be held in the near future so he can discuss the "administrative and management issues" with the council.