Auditor decides not to investigate Huber Heights records complaint

City law director narrowly survives contract termination vote.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office will not investigate a public records dispute within Huber Heights city government.

A letter from the auditor’s office to Huber Heights Law Director Alan Schaeffer notes the agency believes the issues are “resolved at this time” and considers “the matter closed.”

Councilmen Richard Shaw and Glenn Otto were accused last month by Councilman Ed Lyons of improperly removing public records from city facilities. Lyons shepherded through council a motion to ask Yost to investigate the incident.

An email obtained by the Dayton Daily News shows Otto became upset with Schaeffer on Saturday, noting he did not receive the auditor’s decision — issued last Wednesday — “immediately” from Schaeffer.

“I am personally aware of this as I took the initiative to obtain the information myself through a public records request,” Otto wrote in his email. “In light of this, I still have concerns that your legal representation does not include the whole of Huber Heights City Council as it should.”

On Monday, Schaeffer narrowly survived a vote to terminate his contract. In a surprise move, Otto motioned to vote on whether to terminate Schaeffer’s contract.

The measure to oust Schaeffer failed 3-4. Council members Tyler Starline, Shaw and Otto voted to terminate Schaeffer’s contract. Lyons recused himself from the vote, but would not elaborate why.

“It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t enough evidence to compel the state auditor’s office to investigate,” Lyons said after the auditor’s decision. “However, there is still a real liability to the city based on the public records laws that have been broken.”

Shaw and Otto have long said the documents they removed – including four boxes worth – were copies and that no laws were broken. Nor, they said, were they involved in one page of minutes from a 2008 meeting disappearing.

Schaeffer did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment.

The relationship between Schaeffer, Otto and Shaw was rocky even before the members were elected last year. In October 2015, Schaeffer found Shaw and Otto in violation of a city ordinance by using the city's logo on their campaign websites.

Schaeffer is an attorney with Pickrel, Schaeffer and Ebeling law firm. In addition to Huber Heights, Schaeffer is counsel to the city of Springboro. He earned his law degree from the Ohio State University in 1973 and passed the state bar in 1974.