After nearly three months the Mad River Township Board of Trustees is no closer to solving the internal problems that have plagued the emergency services department for several years.
Following the dismissal of department member Steve Schaefer in February amid allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, trustees contracted with their human resources firm Clemens-Nelson to conduct an official investigation into the department administration.
This action was the result of allegations that the three highest ranking officers were aware of Schaefer’s past misconduct in Bethel Township when they approved his application for employment in early 2018.
According to information obtained by the Enon Eagle the victim was a member of the department and made administrators aware of the misconduct prior to their approval of Schaefer’s application and hiring by the board of trustees.
Schaefer also allegedly had inappropriate interactions with a member of the cadet program when he was previously employed by the Enon-Mad River Township department and it was common knowledge within the department at the time he left.
The investigation by Clemens-Nelson also focuses on allegations of hostile work environment and concerns for policy and procedure execution based on resignation letters submitted by several employees beginning in late 2018. The Eagle confirmed that the “chain of command” often dismissed concerns of employees and never brought concerns to the attention of the trustees for mitigation.
Department administration has not filled the positions of paramedics left vacant since November of last year following the resignation of a several employees. The department has hired EMT positions but has failed to recruit certified paramedics.
Information obtained by the Eagle also indicates that shifts are often scheduled with just one person leaving dispatchers to request unscheduled employees to respond and then needing to seek mutual aid from Bethel Township or the City of Fairborn.
In 2013 the board of trustees placed former Chief David Leist on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation which lead to his dismissal.
The trustees did not place Chief Wendling, Assistant Chief Ashworth or Captain Werner on leave pending the outcome of the current investigation into their hiring and other internal concerns related to administration of the department.
The department was the subject of an official “audit” by the same human resources firm in 2017. At that time the “audit” was called for following the receipt of an anonymous letter sent to the board of trustees which contained a list of operational issues.
This audit involved allegations related to routine maintenance and the timely purchase of equipment under the administration of former Chief Tracy Young. Young resigned in the fall of 2017 to pursue other interests.
Trustees recently purchased a new boat for the department while an active investigation is underway. According to information received by the Enon Eagle, the department has only responded to one call in the past year.
Recently trained professionals from another department were called to perform a rescue operation in Clark County despite the availability of the township equipment and crew.
Trustee president Bob McClure explained at the May 6, 2019 meeting that the board has no knowledge of the actions being taken by the investigator at Clemens-Nelson.
A timeline for receiving the report has not been made available to the public or township leaders according to the board of trustees.