Commissioners bout with sheriff


By: Bailey Watts - bwatts@aimmediamidwest.com



The battle between the County Commissioners and Sheriff Marty Donini rages on.

Donini has made his mind known that he is currently displeased with the path of the Commissioner’s office. For some time now, different thought processes have pitted the two sides against each other.

In his interview with the Daily Times in Dec. 19,2019, Donini made it known that he had thrown his hat into the ring for County Commissioner in hopes of bringing change.

In a document released to the Daily Times, the commissioners shared their thoughts on comments the Scioto County Sheriff has stated.

“The Scioto County Commissioners collectively were “somewhat” surprised by some of the statements made by the retiring Sheriff Marty Donini. We say “somewhat surprised” because we are all too aware of things the Sheriff has said and/or done in the past which has created turmoil with multiple offices and other organizations in our county,” the document stated.

For some time now, different thought processes have pitted the two sides against each other. In his interview with the Daily Times in December, Donini made it known that he had thrown his hat into the ring for County Commissioner.

During the interview, the Sheriff stated that a major thing holding the Sheriff’s Department back from doing their jobs to the fullest possibility, was that of the commissioner’s office. He cited monies allocation was a huge factor.

The commissioner’s office has since defended themselves from Donini’s claims once more.

In the released document, they state multiple times that only so much monies can be appropriated to his [the Sheriff’s] budget.

In the document, the commissioners would “make no apologies for adhering to a strict fiscal policy.” Multiple instances were cited in which the commissioners would aid the Sheriff’s department. Dates, and some specifics, were left out.

“On the topic of funding, Sheriff Donini has never liked the way the commissioners have appropriated his budget. It is important to realize he is not the only officeholder who is part of this process and is treated equally the same as all office holders,” the commissioners said in the document.

The Daily Times reached out to Donini for comments and clarification.

Donini explained a process began to purchase a new 911 system in 2016, the process was a long one. Donini stated that it was not finished until 2018. Both, the commissioners’ documents and Sheriff’s stated $400,000 was allocated for the purchase of the system.

The total cost would be roughly $505,000, the commissioners did not mention the $105,000 paid from the Sheriff’s funds.

The document would claim at the conclusion of the process Donini stated, “He was not satisfied with what we are getting from our county commissioners.”

In January 2017, Donini would request new vehicles for the department. After some convincing, the commissioners approved the request.

Donini would continue that in 2019, more vehicles were requested. These were to be paid for entirely from the rotary fund and were denied.

After going to the prosecutor’s office, and getting authorization, the process would finally begin in mid-2019. Donini states, he has yet to receive the vehicles. The Sheriff believes, due to the amount of positions at the department the vehicles are needed, since Donini has increased the number of officers recently in order to curb a rising drug epidemic.

In the document released from the commissioners they would challenge Donini’s perception of the city while also agreeing there is an issue. “Perhaps the Sheriff hasn’t paid attention to all the great things happening in our community in spite of the increased crime and drug activity.”

Donini’s rebuttal included a comment stating that good causes do need funding, “but quality law enforcement is necessary.”

The commissioners would carry on saying due to jail overcrowding and inmate housing, “Sheriff Donini canceled out of county housing contracts without advanced notice.”

“This created a particularly bad situation in Pike and Lawrence counties which created a need for us to communicate the situation effectively with the commissioners in those counties,” the commissioners said.

Donini claimed the rotary fund generated more revenue in 2019 than what was allocated to them from the general fund. He would continue that the last couple of years, their budget has been consistently cut. The commissioners’ document detailed, “We appropriated an additional $872, 253.34 to cover salaries and other needs. In total over $4.33 Million was appropriated in 2019.”

A quote from the commissioners” document would read, “due to the hard work of the current commissioner board and county employees our costs have gone down the last two years.”

Donini would agree that serving and providing for the city is great but without the rotary fund, the department and jail would be down to, a “skeleton crew.”

Nearly 25% of the entire General Fund in 2019 was claimed to go to the Sheriff’s department.

Ending the document released by the commissioners, they state there is one thing both of them can agree upon.

“There is one statement Sheriff Donini makes that we do agree with. Sheriff Donini says, “The area’s economy is strong and he expects that aspect to continue, with growth taking place in several locations.” That growth he references is a result of hard work by many,” the commissioners said. “We have worked cooperatively to create economic opportunities, lower the unemployment rate, increase median incomes, create Opportunity and Enterprise zones, build a business park at the airport, work with developers and entrepreneurs, and move our county forward. If you read the article from December, he either doesn’t know what has been accomplished, or he seems to have misrepresented these important details too.”

By: Bailey Watts

bwatts@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Bailey Watts (740) 353-3101 Ext 1931

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights

Reach Bailey Watts (740) 353-3101 Ext 1931

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights