Thursday, April 15, 2004

Trustee to fight harassment count

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Liberty Township Trustee Bob Shelley plans to fight a sexual harassment charge that could cost him his $61,772 a-year Butler County job, his attorney says.

"He has not resigned. I don't anticipate that he will resign," said Tim Evans, Shelley's attorney, Wednesday.

Shelley, 63, was suspended March 11 - the second time in three months - as Solid Waste District manager at the county Department of Environmental Services.

The December suspension for accessing improper Internet sites on his county computer came with a final warning saying he would be terminated immediately if he violated the sexual harassment policy again, according to his county personnel file.

He has been on paid leave since a female subordinate complained in March that he "made a number of inappropriate comments," in violation of the county policy prohibiting unwelcome or inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, according to his file.

Shelley plans to attend his civil service predisciplinary hearing at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Evans said. Shelley will not comment until the situation is resolved, Evans says.

"We don't know what the charges are. He wants to see specifically what the charges are," he said.

After the Friday meeting, the hearing officer will recommend to Environmental Services Director Tony Parrott whether Shelley should be fired, said Douglas E. Duckett, county personnel director and labor counsel.

Parrott will send his decision to county commissioners, who could rule next Thursday on Shelley's fate, Duckett said.

Although Shelley has two jobs - at the county and as an elected township trustee since 1986 - he failed to pay property taxes last year, according to county records.

On March 11, he paid $5,615 for 2002 taxes due last year on his Linn Road home and another Linn Road lot, according to the Butler County Treasurer's office. He has applied for a monthly installment plan to pay $1,544.26 - plus a 10 percent penalty - for 2003 taxes not paid in February, said Eileen Driggs, chief deputy treasurer.

Township trustee David Kern last week called Shelley "a terrible embarrassment for the township" and said he should resign.


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