Fallout from Ishpeming Police Chief Firing

Ishpeming city officials aren’t sure of the direction they’ll take when it comes to hiring a new police chief.

Longtime Chief Jim Bjorne was fired on Friday for alleged insubordination and misconduct.

The charges concern a recent e-mail to City Council member Claudia Demarest in which Bjorne wrote he believed Demarest was stalking him.

City Manager Jered Ottenwess says the City Council did not have a meeting about this, and he says the council members did not ask him to fire Bjorne, either.

Ottenwess says as manager, he is in effect the city’s CEO.

As part of that responsibility, he has the authority to hire and fire department heads, and he says it was his decision to terminate Chief Bjorne.

The chief and the City Council have been at odds this year about his possible retirement and his back issues that limit his ability to work.

Ottenwess says any information about a police chief search would be premature.

He says the council members haven’t had any talks about a search yet, but he expects they’ll start to have them very soon.

Back in the spring, Det. Sgt. Dan Willey was tapped to step into the chief position on a temporary basis, and he’s taking over the job again for now.