Greene County Commissioner Tom Koogler accused fellow Commissioner Bob Glaser of an ethics violation, claiming Glaser refused to return two county-owned emergency radios that are at his home.
Koogler made the accusations publicly at the end of the commissioners’ meeting Thursday and gave Glaser a noon Friday deadline to return the equipment, each of which cost $4,900.
“Mr. Glaser, for several months we have attempted to convince you to return the radios, the county property, and you have refused,” Koogler said. “As an elected official, we have a responsibility to be transparent. We also need to be held to the same legal standard as every other citizen in our county.”
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Glaser responded, stating he will return the radios, but he has used them to monitor emergency traffic to make sure the radio system is working properly, and someone will need to continue doing that.
Glaser said he has one radio in his home and one in his garage and they were given to him by Motorola to monitor the radio system when it was replaced about six years ago.
“Initially, we had some problems with regards to reception, and then ongoing we had more problems,” Glaser said. “The radios don’t mean anything to me. My intent is to return them when I leave office … But if the populace or whatever wants me to return the radios, I will do so.”
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During the exchange, Koogler confirmed that he has filed a complaint against Glaser with the Ohio Ethics Commission. The third member of the panel, Commissioner Dick Gould, said he will reserve his comments on the issue after the investigation into the complaint is completed.
The radios are the same units that police officers have mounted on their bodies to communicate with emergency dispatchers.
According to Koogler, the issue arose after County Administrator Brandon Huddleson asked Glaser to return the radios and he refused.
Huddleson said he needs to use one of the units to enable him to communicate with the emergency management director and others in the event of an emergency.
“It became apparent to me that, God forbid should there be a disaster and I am away from the office, I have no way to coordinate an emergency response,” Huddleson said. “The only means of communication I have currently is my cell phone. And we know during an emergency, those networks get jammed up. I’m responsible for the operation of the county, in disaster time or non-disaster time.”
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Koogler referred to a letter from Motorola stating that the radios were given to the county, not to Glaser for his personal use.
“They gave the radios to me because I was the one implementing the system,” Glaser responded.
Koogler said whether someone needed to monitor the system should have been a decision made by the board of commissioners.
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