Tensions flared between the Scioto County Board of Commissioners and Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini during Thursday’s county commissioners meeting in regards to Donini’s status on the Children Services Board.
Donini stated that on that same morning he received a call from Laura Fuller, Children Services Director, advising him there was no reason for him to attend the February meeting, because the commissioners had refused to reappoint him as a member of that board, effective Feb. 1.
“I’m here to inquire, is that in fact the truth? And if so why after 20 years am I no longer serving on the Board of Children’s Services?,” asked Donini. Chair of Commissioners Mike Crabtree stated that he personally had no problem with reappointing Donini, but said there were a number of board members that had poor meeting attendance.
Crabtree also said there were questions about whether Donini had an interest in being reappointed, given his alleged plans for retiring from his position of sheriff after the current term. Crabtree and Commissioner Bryan Davis both stated that the only correspondence they had received on Donini was from Laura Fuller, and no word had been received from Donini himself. “We’ve not heard anything back from you,” Crabtree said.
Donini said that in previous years no additional information has been needed and that the reappointment had been “automatic”. “That doesn’t mean that’s the way that is always is with this board,” said Davis.
“Give me a legitimate reason as to why you’re not reappointing me, I’m interested in being reappointed or I wouldn’t be here. I never had to ask the board of commissioners for that,” said Donini.
“The exact word that was told to Laura [Fuller] this morning is that we are working on it,” said Davis.
Donini said Fuller relayed to him that the commissioners were not going to reappoint him, but did reappoint Rodney Barnett, who happens to be the chairman of the Republican Party. Donini claimed the Commissioners motives in not reappointing him to the board were purely political. Donini is also a member of the Republican Party.
Commissioners said Barnett was reappointed because of his involvement in the board, and his personal interest in being reappointed, which included him reaching out to each of the commissioners individually.
“It has nothing to do with him being the chairman of the Republican Party,” said Davis.
Donini demanded the commissioners answer his yes or no question of whether or not he was to be reappointed. Davis spoke first and said his vote was no for the time being.
“You guys have chosen to not reappoint me for political reasons,” said Donini.
Crabtree refuted the sheriff’s accusations, and stated they were only acting on the information that was provided to them. “Guys, you’re pathetic,” said Donini.
Crabtree stated he had no problem with the reappointment, and said there were questions because of Donini’s decision to retire as sheriff at the conclusion of his current term.
Donini said he has yet to publicly make a statement on his retirement, although according to commissioners Captain John Murphy of the sheriff’s department made that announcement along with his own announcement of candidacy at the recent Republican Party meeting.
“Why is this happening now? I know why and I’ll leave it at that. You do whatever you want,” Donini said.
Commissioner Cathy Coleman told the Donini he was wrong on his assumptions, but stated she also had no objections to a reappointment. “I’m done with this, this is pathetic. I’ve been sheriff for six terms now,” Donini said. “This is the most ignorant Board of county commissioners, the most disrespectful I’ve ever experienced. I’m done with you guys.” Before leaving the meeting, Donini made a final remark of the children being the ones suffering.
Coleman stated there has been issues with the Children’s Services Board and said that have been people there “forever and ever” that are not making good decisions and making the necessary decisions that need to me made. “As these appointments become open we are going to consider carefully whether we will reappoint, and that’s the end of story. And he’s wrong. And I’m sorry he feels the way he feels,” said Coleman.
Crabtree stated attempts to reach Donini prior to the Thursday meeting were unsuccessful. Coleman added that Donini was allegedly one of four board members who have shown attendance issues at Children’s Services Board Meetings.