Subpoenas to be issued at Dover

Subpoenas to be issued at Dover
Teri Stein

Dover resident Brian Hanner spoke to city council urging them to expand their investigation to look at themselves and their practices.


Following its regularly scheduled meeting on April 5, Dover City Council members at a Committee of the Whole meeting scheduled for 8 p.m. immediately went into an executive session to discuss personnel matters. After the session ended, council voted to subpoena records on 22 topics and for seven city employees to be interviewed.

Mayor Richard Homrighausen was not present at either the regular meeting or the special meeting but did send a brief report to Council President Shane Gunnoe.

Council unanimously approved the following items be subpoenaed:

—All emails in the mayor’s inbox, sent mail folder or draft mail folders from Jan. 1, 2020, to present.

—All emails sent from the mayor to his wife, Linda Homrighausen, from Jan. 1, 2019, to present.

—All emails sent from the mayor to his son, Nicholas Homrighausen, from Jan. 1, 2019, to present.

—All emails sent from the mayor to his son, Peter Homrighausen, from Jan. 1, 2019, to present.

—All emails sent from the mayor to any of Peter Homrighausen’s current or former supervisors during the period they were his supervisors.

—Peter Homrighausen’s personnel file.

—The use of spreadsheets, receipt books and other documents relating to or concerning the mayor's officiating of letters.

—Laptop and other tech requisition requests from the mayor for his son, sons or other family members in 2020.

—Any and all files in Gerry Mroczkowski’s possession, custody or control related to the concern of any investigation of any complaint from Peter Homrighausen.

—Any grievance files related to Peter Homrighausen.

—All call lists, solicitation lists or email lists for the mayor's golf outing that are in the possession, custody or control of any superintendent or director level employee.

—All emails received by any superintendent or director level employee from Nicholas Homrighausen.

—All emails received from any superintendent or director level employee for Linda Homrighausen.

—All emails sent to the mayor's wife, Linda Homrighausen, by any superintendent or any director level employee.

—The audit trail for purchases requiring the mayor's approval from January 2020 to present.

—All statements for the mayor's credit card from January 2020 to present.

—All memorandums sent from the mayor to any superintendent or director level employee from Jan. 1, 2020, to present.

—The minutes of the City Planning Commission from January 2020 to present.

—A copy of any signed labor or employment agreements the mayor signed in 2020.

—All emails to or from any Dover Chemical employee from Mayor Homrighausen.

—All communications with directors or superintendents regarding responses to public records requests from August 2020 to present.

—A copy of security video for all persons entering council chambers during business hours on March 12.

Council also unanimously approved seven Dover city employees be subpoenaed. The employees are Scott Jerles, director of parks, recreation and shade tree services; Trevor Klar, water/wastewater department superintendent; Charlie Stull, superintendent of electric distribution; David Filippe, light and power plant superintendent; Jason Hall, light and power plant assistant superintendent; Mike Burtscher, general services assistant superintendent; and Kenny Young, general services superintendent.

According to Gunnoe, the list of employees to subpoena was based on feedback provided by Ulmer and Berne, a law firm hired by council to help resolve any personnel issues. Gunnoe will work with the law firm to get the subpoenas out.

“I wouldn't classify these employees as being uncooperative,” Gunnoe said. “Based upon the recommendation of the law firm, that was the most appropriate avenue for those particular employees.”

Open hearings will be held April 14 and 15 for the subpoenaed employees to speak on issues related to city management.

“We will call those seven employees listed, and we will ask questions related to issues under their authority or control. Then we’ll go from there based off their response,” Gunnoe said.

The hearings will be about 6:30 p.m., but a firm time has not yet been set.

Gunnoe deferred questions to Ulmer and Berne about what specific findings caused the council to select those particular individuals for subpoena. Although in a later email, Gunnoe said the firm would probably not be commenting further at this time.

“I have not been present during a lot of those interviews. They’re the ones that have been heading it up to that point. Those were their recommendations,” he said.

According to Gunnoe, issuing the subpoenas is the best route. Under Ohio Revised Code, city council has the authority to call officers of the city in to ask questions of them about issues under their management. Gunnoe said that is “in essence” what they are doing by issuing the subpoenas.

The focus of many of the subpoenas was on the mayor’s family.

“It was based upon information that has been provided to council during the voluntary interviews by some of the employees we've already (interviewed),” Gunnoe said.

Dover resident Brian Hanner delivered remarks to council at their regularly scheduled meeting prior to the executive session and special meeting held at 8 p.m. Hanner asked council expand their investigation to include a look at themselves.

“I need to start by applauding this body for the heavy lifting that they have undertaken in February and March to launch the inquiry into the well-being of the executive operation of our city government,” Hanner said. “It isn't a popular decision, but it was the right thing to do. I come before you tonight to ask you as members of council to consider expanding that investigation.”

Hanner referenced the period of nine months before “this body had an epiphany that there was something amiss in our city government.”

Hanner told council that members of the public in attendance at council meetings last summer and fall had witnessed the mayor sitting for extended periods of time with his eyes closed and completely withdrawn from participating in the proceedings.

“I’m going to join with many of our citizens who want to know from you. What did you know and when did you know it?” Hanner said.

After Hanner heard council member Don Maurer comment at an earlier meeting that Maurer was tired of receiving information at the 11th hour pertaining to issues council needed to vote on, Hanner asked the council to look at their own practices. He also took issue with a vote in 2015 that, in the span of a month after the mayor was re-elected, placed a levy on the ballot that raised property taxes. It was a problem Hanner felt should have been foreseen prior to the election.

In other action council adopted several legislations.

Council unanimously passed emergency resolution #5-21 to name the dedicated alley on the north and west side of 924 W. Tuscarawas Ave. from Karl Avenue to West Tuscarawas Avenue as Dave Warther Drive.

Ordinance #8-21 was approved, amending chapter 1145 of the Dover Codified Ordinances by the addition of subsection 1145.04 to prohibiting intermodal (shipping) containers from residential districts.

Ordinance #9-21 was approved, amending Dover Codified Ordinance chapter 1327 of the housing code to provide additional standards and due process.

Held for further readings was a resolution to recognize, commend and thank Todd Stanley for his years of dedicated public service as an employee with the Dover Fire Department and a similar resolution thanking Mike Bott for his years of service with the Dover Cemetery Department. Also held was an emergency ordinance authorizing the Dover service director to sell unneeded equipment through a variety of means including selling items as scrap.

Upcoming meetings include the open hearings scheduled for April 14 and 15 and the next regularly scheduled council meeting on April 19.

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