Auditor closes case of former Morgan Twp. fire chief accused of double dipping

An investigation by the state auditor into accusations former Morgan Twp. Fire Chief Jeff Galloway double-dipped his salary while deployed on out-of-state emergency missions is over, and he won’t be punished.

The state opened an investigation last fall after receiving a complaint from resident Kevin Dye saying Galloway allegedly “stole” $5,809 while deployed to help with Hurricane Ida in 2021, according to the report released last week.

Generally when the state auditor launches an investigation into misuse of public funds, if wrongdoing is found they will issue an order for the recovery of the funds.

The auditor’s special investigator discovered Galloway received $33,330 for four emergency deployments from 2016 to 2021 and also received $12,346 from the township during those missions. The report reads, “Regarding pay while deployed, the contract has a handwritten reference to Resolution 63-2016, however, this resolution does not reference pay for the Fire Chief.”

The investigator wrote when they interviewed Galloway he said he used comp time to “avoid double-dipping” and the trustees are aware of it, although his contract doesn’t provide for comp time.

“Galloway referenced two conversations he had with Trustees regarding comp time and stated he provided monthly calendars showing his comp time accrual and use to Trustees,” the report reads. “SIU obtained these calendars and an examination showed Jeff Galloway did report using comp time for deployments made in January 2016, August/September 2019, and September 2021. No comp time was reported for a deployment made in September 2018; however, no additional payment was received from the Township for this deployment.”

Trustee Board President Jeff Kolb told the Journal-News they are not satisfied with the state finding and are exploring other options for getting the taxpayers’ money back.

“Facts are a stubborn thing and that report in our estimation doesn’t match the fact,” Kolb said. “So that’s what we’re going to have to reconcile, what exactly is driving people to conclude an opinion based on what facts. Why do our facts not match your facts.”

He said there was a policy in place regarding comp time and Galloway circumvented it.

“We had made it clear to him there was no comp time, there was no official recognition of comp time,” Kolb said. “Every once in a while he would present hours he was tracking and we said chief you can track your hours and kudos on you we know how hard your working that’s all fine you’re on salary there is no comp time. He took that as leeway to present that comp time to the fiscal officer and ended up getting paid for it.”

Galloway’s attorney Elizabeth Tuck said they always knew he’s be exonerated and the only reason he resigned in December was because the trustees threatened to fire him although they, “knew full well that the allegations against him were false.”

“Chief Galloway is still struggling to repair the damage done to his long career of public service. He has been basically unhireable while this cloud of suspicion hung over him. Now that he has been cleared we are hopeful that will change,” she said. “Chief Galloway is exploring all legal options available to him against all of the parties involved in perpetuating and promoting these false allegations.”

The investigator also delved into an issue involving the promotion exam for former fire Capt. Penny Galloway — the former chief’s wife — and whether he “appeared to discuss the contents of, and/or had input in, the promotional exams his wife took part in with test proctor Vicki Shepherd.”

The report notes Shepherd is friends with the Galloways but that fact wasn’t disclosed to the trustees. The investigator wrote the tests were discarded so they were unable “to verify if any of the contents of the tests discussed in the emails were used by Shepherd when creating the test contents.”

There were no emails regarding the contents of the exam discovered between the chief, his wife or Shepherd.

The investigator wrote the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office declined to prosecute either matter and the case is closed.

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