Fire official demoted for blog blunder

The Clearcreek Twp. trustees voted unanimously to demote Christopher Vecchi from assistant fire chief for a year. Vecchi agreed to use sick time and paid time off to compensate the township for his pay since being placed on paid leave on Aug. 16.

Vecchi was suspended after Kelly Kohls, president of the Springboro school board, filed a complaint with Clearcreek Twp. police on July 27 that someone had posed as her on an internet blog focused on Springboro school levy issues, according to a police report.

District voters will consider renewal of a reduced levy for operating funds in the November election, after months of heated community debate.

Kohls initially complained to the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor David Fornshell said.

Authorities focused on Vecchi after obtaining a warrant enabling them to identify the person responsible for the blog posting using information provided to Kohls by the blog operator, according to the Clearcreek Twp. police report. Prosecutors assisted in preparing subpoenas and a search warrant used to seize Vecchi’s computer.

Vecchi’s initial disciplinary notice stated that he was accused of identity fraud, a fifth degree felony.

According to Tuesday’s agreement, township Police Chief John Terrill “has concluded his investigation and no criminal charges will be pursued.”

Vecchi’s paid leave became a suspension through the agreement. He must pass a fitness examination to return to work.

“Any future misconduct may result in discipline, up to and including his termination,” according to the agreement.

Vecchi, named assistant chief in February 2012, joined the department in 2003.

Vecchi’s lawyer, Dave Duwel, confirmed the agreement had been reached, but declined to comment further. Kohls could not be reached.

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