Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein promised there will be a “thorough” investigation into city processes and employees just hours after a city employee and a former city commissioner were indicted on federal corruption charges.
The city has limited information about the investigation and only learned of the indictments and charges against former Commissioner Joey Williams and current employee RoShawn Winburn when the public did after the indictments were unsealed, Dickstein said during a press conference this afternoon.
“I’m as shocked about this as others are, at this point,” Dickstein said.
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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley issued this statement Tuesday night:
“I, like all City employees, learned of today's indictments involving City officials through the media. I, like many Daytonians, am sad for our City. The City will cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities and I support the City Manager in a thorough investigation of the City's processes to protect all Dayton residents.”
Federal authorities held a press conference this afternoon to announce and discuss the indictments against Williams, Winburn, former lawmaker Clayton Luckie and local businessman Brian Higgins. Federal authorities said the investigation is ongoing, and they expect this is just the first wave of corruption charges.
Dickstein said the city is unaware of any other “bad actors” in city government but is committed to uncovering and exposing any other corruption.
However, Dickstein said she strongly disagreed that Dayton-area politics have a “culture of corruption” — a phrase used during the remarks of Joseph Deters, the assistant Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division.
She said this is the only incident she can recall in her 22 years with the city in which a former elected official and an employee were indicted for corruption.
“I believe there are individuals who make bad decisions, and we will deal with that,” she said.
The city has hired outside counsel, Green & Green Lawyers, to review the city’s contracting process and practices, and the investigation is already underway, Dickstein said.
The city will take a close look at public contracts to evaluate whether any of them have any “remote relation” at this point to matters being investigated, she said.
Dickstein said city staff and officials are dealing with a range of emotions in response to the indictments, which include anger, frustration and sadness. Dickstein said she fears the charges will diminish the city’s good work.
“I am frustrated for the organization because I think that we do great work, and I think this overshadows that,” Dickstein added.
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Winburn, the director of the Greater Dayton Minority Business Assistance Center, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, and another staff member is taking over that role, Dickstein said. She did not identify that staff member.
Williams resigned from city commission in February 2018. He was elected to the commission in 2001.