Tuesday, August 14, 2001

City manager likely to stay on job


Lebanon man faces four felony charges

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Indictment, it appears, will not cost City Manager James Patrick his job for now.

        Legislation to fire him will be reintroduced tonight but support for Mr. Patrick is firming up.

        “I want to keep him until the courts decide, not some jackleg standing on the corner,” Mayor James Mills said Monday.

        Mr. Patrick was indicted in July on four felony counts of helping two former city officials commit theft in office.

        Mr. Patrick, on the job two years, faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

        Council members Amy Brewer and James Reinhard, sponsors of a measure to fire him, say the charges hurt the city.

        “This is not an issue of guilt or innocence. That's not what Council decides,” Mrs. Brewer said. “It's put a cloud over the city. The concern is the city moving forward, being productive. ... With this over our head, there is no healing.”

        But as a majority point out, Mr. Patrick is presumed innocent until proved guilty. Members Mark Flick and Jane Davenport have spon sored a resolution — to be voted on tonight — supporting the city manager. Councilman Ron Pandorf, too, is in the keep-Patrick camp.

        City Attorney Mark Yurick clarified Council's op tions in an open work session Tuesday, saying there's no provision in the charter for administrative leave without pay. He can, however, be placed on administrative leave or fired with six months' severance — $40,000 — Mr. Yurick said.

        If Council fires Mr. Patrick, the reasons should be stated as specifically as possible, Mr. Yurick said as the city manager studied his fingernails and an audience of about two dozen looked on.

        Councilman Ben Cole, who last week was leaning toward putting Mr. Patrick on leave, said he's leaning the other way.

        “Right now I'm tending to favor keeping Mr. Patrick on until after the election shakes out (in November), and the trial,” Mr. Cole said.

        Lawyers will meet Sept. 19 to set a trial date, Warren County Common Pleas Court officials said Monday.

       



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