Huber Heights manager’s letter about councilwoman ‘no longer’ complaint

The letter sent on behalf of Huber Heights’ city manager to the city’s law director detailing a heated conversation between him and a council member will no longer be considered a formal complaint, the Dayton Daily News learned.

City officials expressed confusion Thursday afternoon over whether the letter from City Manager Rob Schommer’s attorney about Councilwoman Janell Smith constituted a formal complaint to be investigated by the mayor.

FIRST REPORT: Huber city manager, councilwoman in dispute about heated phone call

“There is no longer a pending complaint against Mrs. Smith individually,” Gerald McDonald, the city’s law director, told the Daily News on Friday. “I will be looking into some of the issues raised in the letter and reporting back to council to see if there are any violations involving the city.”

Smith said that there is no longer a pending complaint against her “validates my claim that what he (Schommer) said was far-reaching.”

Schommer’s attorney, David Duwel, released a statement Friday stating, “Let me be clear, in no way have we rescinded any complaint or letter as has been misrepresented by Mrs. Smith.”

“It remains our intentions to have this situation properly addressed … to protect the employees and others who serve this city from the hostile environment created by some members of city council,” the statement said. “As an element of this complaint, where council has allowed this environment to occur, we feel Mrs. Smith’s actions have been inappropriate and we stand behind the accuracy of the matters outlined in the original letter.”

The original letter to council written Duwel alleged Smith violated the Huber Heights personnel manual with actions toward Schommer that “were intimidating, harassing and constituted coercion” — something Smith denies.

Specifically, the letter referenced a heated phone call between Schommer and Smith about the design quality of new street banners.

MORE: Animated video sparks outrage in Huber Heights

Schommer’s letter additionally “demanded that ‘such conduct be met by the strongest legal action by the city’ and that such action is immediate.”

Smith said Schommer “flat-out lied” in the two-page letter and is “setting himself to be the victim of a hostile work environment,” which she said does not exist.

Schommer’s attorney characterized the letter as “a complaint” in an email exchange Monday with McDonald, according to copies of the emails obtained by the Daily News through a public records request.

Schommer later disputed that the letter was a formal complaint, citing “a possible crossover or confusion of specific processes.”

MORE: No penalties for Huber Heights mayor after discrimination complaint

About the Author