Saturday, April 13, 2002

Springboro manager leaves job abruptly

Police hiring controversial

By Sheila McLaughlin,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGBORO — City manager Wally Douthwaite resigned Friday, days after he was called into an executive session to discuss the hiring of the new police chief.

        His resignation comes after The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Mr. Douthwaite withheld controversial background information about Jeffrey Kruithoff, who begins his job as chief on Monday.

        Mr. Douthwaite would not go into detail about his abrupt resignation from the $83,000 job. He has not been in the office all week, partly because he fractured a rib, but also because of his job problems, he said.

        Council called a special meeting and went into executive session with Mr. Douthwaite on Sunday. Members met in executive session with Mr. Kruithoff on Tuesday, but did not change their decision to hire him.

        Asked if his handling of the Kruithoff hiring put his own job in jeopardy, Mr. Douthwaite said: “I don't want to comment on that publicly.”

        However, his letter to council cites “several recent events that have shaken that working relationship to the point I believe that my effectiveness to work with council has been jeopardized.”

        Council members have said they knew upfront that Mr. Kruithoff resigned under fire as police chief in Battle Creek, Mich., last year, involving allegations that he manipulated a police promotional exam.

        However, Mr. Douthwaite told The Enquirer last month that he did not tell his bosses that Mr. Kruithoff also was sued for allegedly authorizing an illegal wiretap of a detective — a man with whose wife Mr. Kruithoff admits to having an affair.

        Law Director Roger Eckert declined to give specific reasons for the resignation. “There were some issues, confidence issues. The letter pretty well speaks for itself,” he said.

        Council members, who will vote on a $28,000 separation agreement with Mr. Douthwaite on Thursday, could not be reached.

        The agreement calls for Mr. Douthwaite to receive four months of salary. He will be on paid leave through May 10, Mr. Eckert said.


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