Sarvi w/ City Council

Photo by Chris Rogers

Former Winona City Manager Steve Sarvi (far right) sat with City Council members (from left) George Borzyskowski, Aaron Repinski, and Pam Eyden at a council meeting in August.

by CHRIS ROGERS

 

Winona city leaders won’t say why they met in closed session Tuesday night to discuss the performance of Winona City Manager Steve Sarvi or what the outcome of the meeting was. 

“No comment, cannot comment, will not comment,” Winona Mayor Scott Sherman told the Post. Sherman continued, “I actually have a call in to legal to get specifics on stuff like, what communication can be sent out? Are we going to do a press release? We are literally trying to figure that out right now … I expect more to come out later, but I don’t know the legalities of what it will be.”

The City Council met in closed session on Tuesday night to review Sarvi’s performance. As the top administrator for the city, the city manager answers to the council. State law allows the council to meet in closed session for those evaluations, and it is the city's normal practice to do so.

The meeting was unusual in that the City Council held a special meeting outside of its normal meeting schedule, something it does infrequently, and because it fell outside the normal schedule for annual performance reviews of the city manager, something the council has never done in recent years. 

For the last several years, Sarvi’s performance reviews have taken place in the winter. His last review in December 2020 was positive, according to a brief synopsis made public, as were all of his performance evaluations since he joined the city in 2016. This summer and fall some City Council members expressed concerns about the city’s budget and deficit spending

Sarvi was out of the office on Thursday, Winona Human Resources Director Deb Beckman said. She declined to comment on Tuesday's meeting. 

Sarvi could not be reached for comment.

"We are not allowed to relay any aspects of it,” City Council member Michelle Alexander said when asked what happened at Tuesday night’s meeting. “Any aspects of it are supposed to come from one of the two of them,” Alexander said, referring to Sherman and Assistant City Manager Chad Ubl.

Ubl did not respond to interview requests.

City Council member George Borzyskowski declined to comment and referred all questions to the mayor. City Council members Eileen Moeller and Aaron Repinski were not immediately available for comment.

City officials did not respond to a request for public information.

Chris@winonapost.com