An embattled northeast Iowa police chief has been permanently relieved of his duties. The Evansdale city council voted unanimously to fire long-time police chief Michael Burke – effective immediately – following a special session last (Tuesday) night.
Mayor John Mardis told elected leaders he no longer has confidence in Burke’s ability to lead the city, then asked the council to back his decision to fire the chief. Burke has been under scrutiny since late July, when a complaint that he allegedly misused abandoned property was made public. Burke was accused of taking a power washer home for his personal use, but the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation later cleared him of any wrong-doing.
The six members of Evansdale’s police bargaining unit said they felt the investigation tarnished the city’s image. Last month, the officers gave Burke a vote of “no confidence”. Then two weeks ago, patrolman Randy Weber was appointed the city’s “acting chief.” Burke’s employment status the last two weeks hasn’t been known because of a gag order imposed by the court. The reason for his dismissal is also a mystery. Next month would have been Burke’s tenth anniversary as the city’s police chief.