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Dayton has 3 for mayor, 5 for commission in May runoff

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 @ 4:58 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 @ 4:58 PM

Dayton will have runoff votes for both mayor and city commission May 7, as the petitions for three people were verified for mayor and five for the commission race.

In the mayor race, the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Wednesday certified the petitions of current Mayor Gary Leitzell and former judge and county auditor A.J. Wagner. They are joined in the race by city commissioner Nan Whaley, whose petitions were certified last month.

The top two vote-getters in the mayoral runoff will advance to the November election.

Eric LaMont Gregory and Derek Folley also submitted petitions to run for mayor, but the BOE ruled that neither man met the Dayton charter requirement of 500 valid signatures from Dayton registered voters.

Gregory turned in 1,021 signatures, but only 436 were ruled valid. Folley turned in 921, but only 328 were deemed valid. Dayton’s requirement of 500 signatures is much higher than other local cities, and is 10 times higher than the 50 valid signatures needed to run for Congress.

The candidates for city commission will be incumbent Joey Williams, advertising agency owner David Esrati, state school board member Jeffrey Mims, Northwest Priority Board Chairman David K. Greer, and digital media company president Joseph Lutz.

Lutz, who said he began collecting signatures very late in the process and rushed to meet the filing deadline, barely met the signature requirement, with 506 valid signers. BOE officials said the other candidates comfortably cleared the bar.

The BOE deferred until 7 a.m. Thursday to rule on the petitions of William Pace, who hopes to run for city commission. BOE Deputy Director Steve Harsman said Pace filed more than 500 valid signatures, but failed to sign the statement of candidacy, which is required by Dayton’s charter.

Neither Pace nor any other candidate attended the BOE’s 4 p.m. Wednesday meeting to deal with potential problems. BOE officials said if Pace filed the signed statement after closing hours but before midnight, they would turn to the city law director for an opinion on whether his document met charter requirements.

Reached just before 6 p.m., Pace called the situation “insane” and “a nightmare,” but did not answer whether he would try to file the document in some way.

The top four vote-getters in the commission race will run for two seats in November.

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Retired Centerville police chief focus of investigation

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:01 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:23 PM

            Bruce Robertson
Bruce Robertson

Centerville police chief Bruce Robertson’s recent retirement came amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of criminal conduct, according to city manager Wayne Davis.

“There were allegations of criminal conduct, therefore we’re following up with conducting an internal investigation into those allegations,” Davis said in response to questions from the Dayton Daily News/WHIO I-Team.

“At this time there’s no evidence of criminal activity, however our investigation is not complete,” Davis said.

RELATED: Centerville police chief retires after nearly 40 years

Bruce Robertson retired on Feb. 9 after working for the city nearly 40 years. His two-page letter of resignation cited “a serious medical condition” for the reason he decided to retire.

When asked if the investigation was connected to Robertson’s decision to retire, Davis said: “Not from what was shared with me.”

Davis said the internal review is being conducted by the law director and started sometime after Jan. 24.

This news organization has reached out to Robertson. This story will be updated with his comments if they are obtained.

The city of Centerville released a statement about the investigation. Here is the full statement:

“Centerville Police Chief Bruce Robertson retired on February 9, 2018, after 40 years of service to the city of Centerville. Around the time of Chief Robertson’s retirement, City Manager Wayne Davis was made aware of allegations of potential criminal misconduct in office, and an internal investigation was initiated.

“At this point, the investigation has uncovered no evidence of criminal activity. The investigation is still ongoing, and the city is not at liberty to discuss the details of the investigation at this time. The city will continue to cooperate with providing information as it becomes available.”

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The chief’s personnel records do not indicate the reason for the investigation.

Records from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London, Ohio, show Robertson has been paid $32,294 to teach classes there since 2010, including $5,600 for seven training sessions in 2017. Davis confirmed the city is looking into whether Robertson was reimbursed for the same hours he worked as police chief, which could violate state law. He would not say whether those allegations are part of the criminal probe, however.

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His most recent performance review in 2016 included positive reviews.

“He cares deeply about the men and women of the Centerville Police Department and strives to maintain the high professional reputation of the organization,” the review says.

But he was also given a formal, verbal warning in December and told to attend a course on harassment in the workplace because of an incident last August, according to the records. While talking with officers about preparations for a rally supporting transgender issues, Robertson jokingly asked a police officer “How’d your surgery go?” The officer complained and the comment was determined to be inappropriate by the city, the records show.

Robertson retired and was rehired in 2014. His employment contract in June 2017 was extended to January 2019.

Robertson was paid $127,501 in 2016, according to the I-Team Payroll Project.

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5 things to know about Dayton Commissioner Joey Williams’ resignation

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 1:11 PM

            Dayton City Commisson member Joey Williams is resigning from his elected position because of demands from his work as Dayton market president for KeyBank.
Dayton City Commisson member Joey Williams is resigning from his elected position because of demands from his work as Dayton market president for KeyBank.

Joey Williams announced Wednesday evening that he will resign Friday as a Dayton city commissioner two months into a new four-year term.

Here are five things to know about the resignation:

1. Longest tenure. Williams is Dayton’s current longest-serving city commissioner, with 16 years in office. He won re-election in November and just began his fifth term on commission in January.

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2. Quick primary. His resignation so soon into a new term now will trigger a short turnaround on an election to replace him.

The city commission will meet in special session Friday and likely will approve a May 8 election. City charter dictates that vacancies be filled by special election 60 to 90 days after the vacancy occurs. The May date falls within that, but candidates will have to collect 500 signatures on petitions by March 9.

3. Other job. The work of city commisioner often is a part-time job, and Williams said his new full-time work — Dayton market president for KeyBank, announced just days after November’s election — requires more travel than expected, which means he misses more commission meetings.

4. Honor of a lifetime. Williams, fighting back tears as he announced his resignation, said, “To serve my community has been a thrill and honor of a lifetime.”

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5. Money matters. Fellow commissioners praised Williams for his leadership and financial advice.

“When (people) go back and look at the history of the city the last decade and more, they are going to point to you as maybe the main reason we as a commission was able to lead and bring the city out of one of the worst crises we’ve ever seen,” said Commissioner Matt Joseph.

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Suit wants Ohio marijuana grower licenses revoked

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:31 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:31 AM


A lawsuit filed by some unsuccessful applicants to grow medical marijuana in Ohio claims state regulators failed to follow their own rules last year when they awarded provisional licenses for growing facilities.

Several groups including CannAscend Ohio LLC filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus.

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The lawsuit challenges the Ohio Department of Commerce’s process for awarding the provisional licenses to 12 companies for large-scale growing facilities.

The lawsuit alleges various failures in the licensing process, including “scoring errors, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and undisclosed loopholes in the security of information.”

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It asks a judge to revoke the licenses and prevent the department from issuing operators’ permits to the companies.Department spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski said Tuesday that the department can’t comment on pending litigation.

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Montgomery County Recorder Willis Blackshear dies

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 10:43 AM
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

Willis Blackshear, Montgomery County recorder since 2006, has died. SUBMITTED
Willis Blackshear, Montgomery County recorder since 2006, has died. SUBMITTED

Willis E. Blackshear, longtime Montgomery County recorder and Montgomery County Democratic Party stalwart, has died, Dayton and county officials confirmed today. He was 57.

FULL REPORT: Willis Blackshear dies: Longtime county official worked to save people’s homes, ‘not afraid to speak up’

“He was always passionate about public service and really passionate about how people can make a difference in their communities if they got involved in politics,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who said Blackshear died overnight in hospice care after a long illness.

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Blackshear worked his way up the ranks during 22 years in the county’s treasurer’s office. In 2006 he was appointed county recorder. In 2008, he was elected to his first full term and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016.

Born and raised in Dayton, Blackshear continued to reside in the city with his wife, Regina. He also leaves behind an adult son, Willis Jr.

Blackshear graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and received his BA in political Science from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., according to his county biography.

We will continue to update this story as it develops.

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