Sunday, December 24, 2000

Dayton council removes mayor

Crittendon plans appeal, lawsuit

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        DAYTON, Ky. - City Council needed just two hours early Saturday to make Bobby Crittendon a former mayor.

        The 6-0 impeachment vote on 21 of 25 articles removed Mr. Crittendon from the post he has held since 1990. The vote was taken at about 2 a.m. Min utes after the vote, police padlocked his city office.

        Mr. Crittendon said Saturday he would appeal the decision and plans to sue the city and council members Cathy Volter, Ron Gunning, Don Seifert, Miles Vaught, Ken Rankle and Bobby Allen.

        “No. 1, I would like to congratulate (Dayton Police Chief Greg) Aylor and his department on their performance; they should have won Oscars,” Mr. Crittendon said. “Four of the council members (Messrs. Gunning, Rankle and Vaught and Ms. Volter) already had their minds made up.

        “Allen had said at the start (that) unless I killed somebody or took a lot of money, he would never vote to remove me. Seifert said it smelled like a witch hunt.”

        The city now has 30 days to pick a new mayor, or Gov. Paul Patton will appoint someone to serve Mr. Crittendon's final two years.

        Mr. Vaught declined to comment, saying Phil Taliaferro, who helped prosecute the case for the city, would make any future statements. None of the others could be reached for comment.

        Council is expected to consider the matter at its Jan. 3 meeting. If a sitting member is chosen, council has another 30 days to fill that seat.

        In losing a job that paid $2,400 a year, Mr. Crittendon became the second Northern Kentucky mayor to be removed from office in the last five years.

        Former Williamstown mayor Bob Jones was removed in 1997. He later lost a re-election bid and was ultimately convicted of robbing two banks in Ohio.

        Mr. Crittendon acknowledged in a written statement Wednesday that he committed 25 of 28 offenses with which he was charged last month. He and his attorney, Steve Wolnitzek, then left the hearing and did not returned.

        Testimony concluded about 11 p.m. Friday. Council announced its decision about 1:15 a.m. Saturday, and Mr. Taliaferro said Mr. Crittendon was notified of the decision about 30 minutes later.

        “I can't remember having a jury working this late before in the last 38 years,” Mr. Taliaferro said. “I thought they would be out sooner than two hours. They carefully reviewed the evidence, testimony and exhibits for each and every article, even though he pled guilty.”

        In removing Mr. Crittendon, the city will pay Mr. Taliaferro and co-prosecutor Robert Carran $150 per hour. The city will also pay Bill Oldfield, who acted as the city's legal counsel, $150 per hour and court reporter Mary Alice Ebert $95 per hour.

        The city originally investigated Mr. Crittendon on charges of nepotism regarding his son-in-law, Dayton police officer David Halfhill. The 28 charges were listed in a Nov. 20 municipal order, but three were dismissed when impeachment proceedings began Wednesday.

        Charges against Mr. Crittendon included:

        • Demanding Chief Aylor help install a swimming pool belonging to Officer Halfhill.

        • Fixing speeding tickets in spring 1999 for tenants in housing Mr. Crittendon owned and ordering police officers not to write them.

        • Using city equipment to transport lumber to build a boat dock in Bracken County in 1999.

        Dayton police officers and city employees said they feared losing their jobs because of their testimony if Mr. Crittendon remained in office.

        Mr. Crittendon said he would run for mayor in 2002. Mr. Taliaferro didn't think Dayton residents would re-elect him, but Mr. Crittendon thinks it will be a long time before the matter is finished.

        “If I've been such a bad mayor, why haven't these (charges) been brought up before?” Mr. Crittendon said. “(People) could have went to our city attorney (Jack Fisher) or our county attorney, Justin Verst. I think this is going to split the city wide open, employees and citizens.”

- Dayton council removes mayor
Outcome of 28 charges against mayor

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