Officials looking into allegations against Morgan Twp. administrator

A Morgan Twp. resident has launched a litany of accusations against Administrator/Fire Chief Jeff Galloway saying he has committed a number of “crimes” including double-dipping his salary, a charge that is now under investigation.

Township resident Kevin Dye blindsided the township trustees at their meeting this week accusing Galloway of nepotism, serving two administrative roles with the township and double-dipping his salary, the most serious alleged infraction.

He said Galloway was paid his regular $93,000 annual salary and also received pay the township was reimbursed by the state of Louisiana when the chief was deployed with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency to help with Hurricane Ida last year.

“You received a salary, you claimed that salary with a government agency you basically were paid twice,” Dye said.

When Galloway explained he took comp or vacation time, Dye said “if you have to explain it to me you can explain it to an investigator. It’s very clear what occurred here; you were paid twice for your salaried pay and you claimed it in writing to a government agency ... there are two crimes that occurred there.”

Records obtained by the Journal-News show Galloway received his regular bi-weekly paychecks for $2,557 for Sept. 5 through Sept. 18 and Sept. 19 through Oct. 2 as usual. Then another direct deposit for $5,313 for hourly and overtime wages for the first pay period and $3,456 net for the second. He was in Louisiana from Sept. 10-24 and worked a total of 88 regular hours and 138 of overtime.

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The township sent an invoice to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for $22,309 and the document was signed by Galloway’s wife Penny, who is a captain for the fire department, which is another bone of contention for Dye. The township received the reimbursement last month and it was deposited into the fire fund.

Since the meeting, Trustee Tom Brucker told the Journal-News they have been scouring their records trying to decipher what happened. He said Galloway and firefighter Tony Shroyer were both deployed for Ida. The time for Shroyer — who is paid hourly — was properly reimbursed.

“Galloway on the other hand took his paycheck, his salary and then turned in the time sheets for both straight and overtime, he was only eligible for overtime,” Brucker said. “So the straight time pay for those two pay periods are what are in question. We’re looking to see if it was an oversight or it was deliberate.”

When local jurisdictions send their people to assist with national emergencies like hurricanes, wildfires and floods the state where the disaster happened pays for time and expenses. Brucker said the township paid the money up front and obviously it took time to receive the reimbursement.

He said Chief Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Dan Ferguson confirmed they are investigating the matter, which Dye demanded.

“I make considerably more than $93,000 a year, however I would notice if an extra $6,000 popped up in my account,” Dye said. “Now if this is the first time, I hope it’s the first time and I hope this council takes the correct measures to stop this, however I strongly believe it’s not.”

Galloway has deployed numerous times to emergencies all over the country. Brucker said at this early juncture, “we are still searching past time cards and paystubs to see, but right now it seems to be an isolated incident.”

The fact Galloway’s wife signed the reimbursement form is also in question, according to Brucker.

“That’s something we are looking into, that definitely raised some questions, I’ll just give you that,” he said noting the township fiscal officer would normally have that duty.

Dye said the township is also violating state nepotism rules by allowing Galloway and his wife to both work at the fire department because Galloway is her boss. Galloway — the former executive director of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency — was hired as the fire chief in 2015 and his wife has been employed there since February 2013.

Galloway self-reported to the Ohio Ethics Commission in 2016 and the response notes when he was hired the trustees passed a resolution so his wife reports directly to Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Griffith not him. The issue in 2016 pertained to his wife going through the promotion process to the rank of lieutenant. Galloway did not participate in the process and the trustees ultimately did not promote her because firefighters complained. The EOC did not find any fault.

“Because your wife ultimately did not receive the promotion to lieutenant and presented no information that you participate in your wife’s material employment matters, Commission staff determined the matter would not be prioritized for investigation,” The OEC letter reads.

Brucker said they have further tried to remove the “appearance of impropriety” by requiring all matters pertaining to Galloway’s wife, such as discipline, comes directly to the trustees.

Brucker said some might wonder if Galloway has been able to pressure Griffith into giving his wife preferential treatment.

“I asked the assistant chief that more than once, do you ever feel threatened, if you ever feel threatened you will come to the board, correct. He said absolutely,” Brucker said. “You’re job is in jeopardy not only by the chief but the trustees. If we find out that you’re doing things because you’re fearful of your job, you will probably lose your job because of us not him.”

Dye also questioned the fact Galloway serves both as township administrator and fire chief and that is not allowed because has the administrator he also oversees the fire department. He asked how much he receives for each and Galloway told him about $76,150 is for his job as chief. Brucker retracted that and told Dye they have never broken down his salary. It would be unlawful for him to receive compensation for both positions.

Paul Nick, executive director for the Ohio Ethics Commission, said generally speaking there are guidelines regarding public employees wearing two hats but it isn’t strictly prohibited.

“The conflict of interest laws themselves don’t prohibit it but they regulate it,” Nick said. “So that if issues come up involving the township that involve the fire department and vice versa he’s be required to recuse himself. And if that recusal becomes so systematic that it makes it impossible to do the job then that’s where the compatibility may come into play.”

Brucker said the Butler County Sheriff’s Office is not involved in the matter at this time and they are supporting Galloway and defending him right now “but if something comes up then he’s on his own.”

Dye warned the trustees they’d better not try and get away with anything.

“Don’t violate the law in this township, that’s all I’ve got to say,” Dye said. “Because there are too many people here that will fix that problem for you. Trust me.”

Galloway said he can’t comment on the allegations.

He is the third Butler County public official to be accused of wrongdoing this year. Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds is under indictment for bribery and using his office for personal gain. He faces up to seven years in prison if he is found guilty on all counts after his December trial.

Madison Twp. Trustee Alan Daniel was indicted this week on seven charges he has misused his office. He is set to be arraigned Monday morning.

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