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Executive Director, Assistant Director Fired At Alerus Center

GRAND FORKS, ND (CelebrityAccess) — The City of Grand Forks has announced the firing of two senior staff — executive director Cheryl Swanson and assistant director Bob LeBarron — at the city-owned Alerus Center.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, Swanson was fired after an investigation at the facility following staff complaints that allegedly described a volatile and hostile work environment. City Administrator Todd Feland announced Swanson's departure in an interview at City Hall, the Herald said, just days after LeBarron was also let go.

“I think the (investigation into the Alerus Center) generally provides that the organization was broken, to a degree, under the leadership at the Alerus Center, from a people-management perspective,” Feland told the Herald. “There were significant doubts about whether Cheryl Swanson, as executive director, had the skillset to help lead that organization back.”

The city launched an investigation at the Alerus after complaints in October, with employees allegedly expressing concerns about Swanson's work habits and suggesting that she was verbally abusive.

In a copy of the investigative report obtained by the Herald through a public records request, staffers at the venue reported a "disconnect between how Swanson views her leadership style and how she is viewed by most of the members of the management team."

“Swanson views herself as a collaborator, a communicator, (and) a consensus builder. Most of the management team describes the exact opposite — a director who does not seek input from others, who is retaliatory and absent,” the report said, according to The Herald.

The report also characterized LeBarron as “eyes and ears and puppet,” and claimed that he had allegedly posted threatening comments that seemed to be directed toward co-workers on Internet forums.

Both LeBarron and Swanson had been previously placed on 30 work days’ paid administrative leave Oct. 21.

CelebrityAccess attempted to contact both Swanson and LeBarron for comment. – Staff Writers