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City street commissioner resigns Wednesday

Friday, July 14, 2006

Resulting from concerns about his management techniques, Robert Biddle resigned his position as Brazil's street commissioner Thursday evening, according to Mayor Tom Arthur.

"I received several complaints from residents and employees (about Biddle)," Arthur said. "He was doing an amazing job with the three goals set for the department when he took the position two months ago, but his management style was not conducive for a good work environment."

Biddle was hired to accomplish three main objectives for the department. The goals were: raise vehicle maintenance to a higher level, complete projects in a timely fashion and improve employee performance.

Biddle's gruff personality motivated employees to reach the goals set forth by the mayor. That created some resentment toward Biddle, according to Arthur.

The problem was discussed at Biddle's 60-day evaluation in June. His 90-day probationary period for the job would have ended on July 28.

"I voiced my concerns about the problem, but he didn't think there was a problem with his management style," he said.

"If there is one complaint, I listen without jumping to any conclusions. I know people have different perspectives, and what angers one person won't necessarily upset someone else. But when I get several complaints about the same thing, I have to look into them."

Complaints about Biddle's "verbal aggression" and "off-color" comments continued to be filed at the mayor's office.

Arthur personally investigated the complaints.

He said he didn't find any incidents worthy of termination or of further investigation, but admitted to telling Biddle that it might be in his best interest to consider resigning before July 28.

"He resigned and was OK with it," Arthur said.

Without incident, Biddle closed his office and returned his set of keys to a city vehicle he was allowed to use.

Without a vehicle, Sgt. Dave Archer was on hand to provide Biddle with a ride home.

Attempts by The Brazil Times to contact Robert Biddle on Friday were unsuccessful as of press time.

Further information about the hiring of the next street commissioner is unavailable at this time.

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