FREMONT – The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) has concluded a 17 month long investigation into contract work by Getzschman Heating LLC for the City of Fremont.
The NADC began investigating complaints filed by Bold Nebraska, a political advocacy group, well over a year ago. However, it was illegal for the organization to file those complaints as a political group, and the complaints were refiled under the name of Amy Schaffer, former State Director for Bold Nebraska. The complaints alleged that Mayor Scott Getzschman violated Nebraska law when Getzschman Heating LLC, partially owned by the mayor, performed seven specific contracts for the City of Fremont.
The contracts under investigation resulted in payments from the city to Getzschman Heating LLC in amounts ranging from $28.00 to $460.00. Nebraska law prohibits an officer of a governing body from having an interest in a contract with that body, unless certain statutory requirements are met – forms must be filed, agenda items must be made public.
Of the seven potential violations, five were dismissed as the Commission found no wrongdoing on those contracts. Two violations were found to have merit. “At no time was it ever my intention to violate Nebraska state law,” said Getzschman, who explained that the violations were completely inadvertent and circumstantial.
“Specifically, the first admitted violation occurred when the cooling unit for the City IT room failed in September of 2014,” said Getzschman. “When the City was unable to locate a temporary unit to prevent overheating of its computer servers, it reached out to Getzschman Heating LLC who provided a temporary unit for 3 months without charge except labor of $400 paid in January of 2015 for installation and removal of the unit.” Due to the emergency nature of the service call, Getzschman said simply, “It did not occur to me to file the necessary forms or to place the matter on the agenda. The payment was, however, disclosed in the City Council back-up materials.”
The second violation involved a service call of $460.00 on or about February 9, 2016 on a piece of equipment that had been previously installed by Getzschman Heating LLC as a sub-contractor at the power plant. “Because the previous installation was performed as a sub-contractor,” Getzschman said, “I was unaware that it would be necessary to file the necessary disclosure forms in regard to the service work.”
Getzschman Heating LLC has changed their internal processes in regard to all contract work between the business and the City of Fremont to ensure no future violations will occur. “While serving as the Mayor of Fremont and part owner of Getzschman Heating LLC, it has always been my intention to serve the Fremont community and our customers with honesty and integrity. I am happy to have the matter behind me and these mistakes will not happen again.”
When the Nebraska Accountability & Disclosure Commission finds a violation, it may: a) assess a civil penalty of up to $2,000 per violation; b) order the filing of certain reports or documents as required by the NPADA; c) enter a cease and desist order. In this matter, Getzschman Heating LLC will be fined $2,250 in total.