Thursday, March 29, 2001

Fired police chief, clerk back on job

Lawsuits filed against ex-Villa Hills mayor

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        VILLA HILLS — Saying they were glad to be back, Police Chief Michael “Corky” Brown and City Clerk Sue Kramer returned to their old jobs Wednesday, exactly three months after former Mayor Steve Clark fired them.

        While encouraged by welcoming flowers and steady calls and visits from well-wishers, both said they simply want to get back to work.

[photo] Michael “Corky” Brown (right) and Sue Kramer (second from right) were back at work Wednesday. Mayor Mike Sadouskas and Shelly Espich of a citizen's group joined them at a press conference.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        “I think Sue and I both agree that it would be nice to get back to a regular day and just do our jobs and get out of the press,” Chief Brown said at an afternoon press conference.

        “We're both looking forward to that day.”

        The veteran employees were reinstated one day after filing whistleblower lawsuits against Mr. Clark.

        Both declined to elaborate on the conditions leading to their return or to say whether they planned to drop their suits. Chief Brown said those issues are being discussed by their attorney, Stephen Wolnitzek, and Acting City Attorney Mike Duncan.

        “Our main concern was that we get back to work as soon as possible,” Chief Brown said. “I know I was up at 4:30 this morning and was here at 6:30.”

        At a Dec. 28 press conference, Mr. Clark announced he had fired Chief Brown and Mrs. Kramer. He gave no reason for their dismissals and, under state law, he was not required to.

    VILLA HILLS — Six applicants are vying for a City Council vacancy slated to be filled April 5.
    Ed Niewahner, Mike Augur, Greg Kilburn, Jim Cahill, Steve Kramer and Thom Vollmar all submitted resumes by Wednesday's deadline.
    Villa Hills City Council will meet 7 p.m. April 5 at River Ridge Elementary to fill the council vacancy. The vacancy occurred last week, when Councilman Mike Sadouskas was named mayor. Mr. Sadouskas replaced Steve Clark, who resigned March 9.
        However, in lawsuits filed Tuesday, Chief Brown and Mrs. Kramer said they were fired because of their roles in investigations involving the former mayor.

        Mayor Mike Sadouskas credited a vocal citizens group for its efforts in ensuring the reinstatement of Chief Brown and Mrs. Kramer, the wife of Councilman Bob Kramer.

        “Our tagline is to make Villa Hills the most liveable city again, and truly, we are on our way to doing that now that they are back on the job,” said Shelly Espich, a spokeswoman for the citizens group that lobbied for the long-time employees' reinstatement.

        Mr. Clark resigned as mayor March 9 after weeks of public and legal pressure. Much of the public anger toward Mr. Clark was over his firing of Chief Brown, in the job for 17 years, and Mrs. Kramer, who had worked for the city in various jobs since 1986.


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