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Sheriff pulls the plug on Mohawk outpost

By Carol McIntire

Lake Mohawk no longer enjoys the convenience of having commissioned deputy sheriffs patrolling the gated community.

Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams visited commissioners Monday to break the news that he had pulled the commission of all deputies who worked at the Lake Mohawk Post.

Williams referenced a letter dated Feb. 2012 from the county’s liability coverage carrier, County Risk Sharing Authority (CORSA), which outlined the county’s possible liability risks involving the Lake Mohawk Post. Williams noted the deputies were employees of Lake Mohawk and the vehicles they drove were owned by Lake Mohawk. However, the liability came into play when he commissioned the employees as deputy sheriffs.

Williams said he knew CORSA was opposed to the set up and previously required Lake Mohawk officials to remove Sheriff’s Department logos from vehicles and uniforms.

“An incident that occurred July 6 at Lake Mohawk made us move forward with canceling the post,” he said. On that date, Williams said Mohawk deputies were called to a fight, but when three deputies arrived, they were told there was no fight. He said a fight ensued during which a deputy was assaulted. Charges were filed and the matter went before the Carroll County Grand Jury. The grand jury did not return an indictment and the charges were dropped in county Municipal Court, Williams noted.

He said two of the deputies were fired and a third one resigned. The other employees who were not involved in the incident had their commissions terminated.

“It’s very unfortunate this happened,” Williams said. “I hired an outside person from Tuscarawas County to complete an investigation into the matter. “After the investigation was complete, which was about a month, the decision was made to discontinue the post.”

“I want the people of Mohawk to know we are not deserting them,” he continued. “Our deputies will patrol the lake and respond to calls.”

Commissioner Jeff Ohler asked Williams what options Lake Mohawk officials have if they wish to continue their own law enforcement presence in the community.

Williams noted they can have a constable, who will be certified through Municipal Court or they can choose to have security guards. He noted the community had a constable prior to the Sheriff’s outpost being set up.

In an unrelated matter, Williams said he plans to move the dispatch center of the Sheriff’s office to the second floor of the jail.

The move is being made in order to attempt to meet new performance standards set by the state of Ohio.

If the standards are not met, communities could lose their 911-dispatch center.

Williams is in the process of obtaining estimates for the cost of the move, which he plans to have complete prior to January 2014.

He then plans to move the jailers into the former dispatch room. They will then be responsible for working with the public.

“By moving the dispatch center upstairs there will be no distractions by the public or deputies who walk into the room,” Williams noted. “The door to the dispatch center will be closed.”

He noted he does not have funds in his budget to pay for the move.

In other business, commissioners:
-SIGNED a road use maintenance agreement (RUMA) for Rex Energy to use approximately 1,000 feet of Gallo Rd. in Harrison Twp. even though Harrison Twp. trustees had not signed the agreement. After discussing the situation with Rex Energy officials, commissioners opted to sign the agreement. After a nearly 30-minute discussion on the matter, Prosecuting Attorney Don Burns told commissioners that they already had an opinion from the Ohio Attorney General stating, “only commissioners have the authority to enter into RUMAs.”

Commissioners noted the original RUMA agreements required only signatures by commissioners but the documents were changed to include signatures from trustees as a courtesy.
-APPROVED RUMAs for Chesapeake Exploration to use a portion of Canyon Rd. in Lee Twp. for access to the Smeltz well site and another portion of Canyon Rd. in Lee and Union townships for access to the Stanton well site.

Commissioners agreed to advertise for request for proposals (RFPs) to restore the courthouse tower clock. Proposals will be accepted until Sept. 26 at 10:30 a.m. and opened at that time.

-APPOINTED Heather Campbell of Carrollton to the position of Office Manager in their office. Campbell, the wife of Carroll County Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Matt Campbell, will be paid $17.55 per hour for a 40-hour work week and begin her duties “about Sept. 23” according to Commissioner Robert Wirkner.

Campbell replaces Sonja Leggett, who was hired as director of Carroll County transit earlier in August. Leggett was classified as a clerk in the commissioners’ office. Commissioners did not advertise for applications for the position not did they take any action to change the job title from a clerk to office manager. Campbell was also an applicant for the transit position.

-GRANTED permission for Jennifer Burns of Family and Children First Council and Nick Cascarelli, Carroll County health commissioner arrived to applying for $15,000 in funding for a parent mentoring program which will focus on children up to age 12 and Cascarelli received approval to apply for 10,617 in state subsidy money for the Help Me Grow program.

-MET in executive session with Kate Offenberger, director of Job and Family Services to discuss personnel matters for one hour with no action.

-ACCEPTED the bid of M. P. Dory of Columbus for the county engineer’s 2013 guardrail project at a cost of $121,775.

-APPROVED, at the request of Recorder Patricia Oyer, a five-year plan for charging $5.50 per document page fee for items recorded in her office beginning in October.

-WERE visited by Tom Fruend of Access Ohio Valley about his company’s desire to provide broadband services to residents of Carroll County. Commissioner Tom Wheaton referred Fruend to a program known as Connect Ohio to obtain data and information.

-RECEIVED the weekly dog pound report showing 22 dogs impounded, 14 tagged and three redeemed. There was one citation issued for a dog running at large.

-MET in executive session with Economic Development Director Aaron Dodds to review 10 applications received for the assistant’s position in his office.

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