Bradley George, the only chief the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District has known, was reinstated to that position Tuesday night after an investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation resulted in no charges against him.
The results of the BCI investigation were revealed at Tuesday night’s Paint Creek fire board meeting in Greenfield by Jon Salyer, human resources director for Paint Creek. After a lengthy executive session, the board voted unanimously at around 10 p.m. to reinstate George.
A letter from BCI provided by Salyer to The Times-Gazette states that BCI completed the investigation Feb. 2, and it was reviewed by the special prosecution section of the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
The letter states that “there appears to be insufficient evidence to establish any element of personal gain in any activity that would justify, in my opinion, any further prosecutorial action concerning allegations of forgery or the misappropriation of funds.” The letter is signed by Matthew J. Donahue, section chief, Special prosecution section for the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The letter adds, “Based upon the foregoing, the Special Prosecutions Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is of the opinion that this matter should be closed.”
After Salyer presented BCI’s findings to the board Tuesday, he requested an executive session which included George, his wife, Monica, and George’s attorney, Robert Judkins. After about 90 minutes, to board reemerged to reinstate George as chief.
George has been on suspension since early July, first due to a pending investigation, then as a punitive measure after it was determined in a hearing that charges of gross negligence, malfeasance, and failure to show good behavior were true. He was then suspended again due to another pending investigation over issues that were not publicly disclosed.
Salyer said at the last board meeting that he had been led to believe that the investigation was complete and the matter passed on to a special prosecutor with the state’s attorney general’s office for review. Interim chief Bill Strain said he was told that the investigation was still ongoing and had not been completed. BCI said the reason for the delay is that the assigned investigator has been off on medical leave, Strain said.
George was the subject of a rebellion by some firefighters who at one time presented a list of 70 grievances to board members last year.
In a previous interview with The Times-Gazette, George said that if he was cleared, “I’m absolutely looking forward to coming back. I’m not a vengeful person. I’ve always done what’s best for the community first, and the district. I love doing this. I’ve done it for 27 years.”
He said, “Even through all this, I’ve still got the best group, the best men and women to serve with. But I can’t start fixing this until I come back to work.”
Check back online Wednesday at timesgazette.com and in Thursday’s print edition of The Times-Gazette for more details.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.