Dover city worker frustrated and heartbroken

Dover city worker frustrated and heartbroken

Image Credit: Teri Stein

'The mayor I knew was not this man'

After an emotional statement at the Dover City Council meeting on Jan. 3, Kelly Elliott, deputy auditor of the City of Dover, was given a standing ovation by council and almost everyone else in attendance.

“When I began my job at the City of Dover in 2004, I received nothing short of an overwhelming welcome and a sense of community and family from the employees right up to the mayor's office,” Elliot said. “Everyone was very helpful, and we all enjoyed working together.”

Elliot described the atmosphere as one where everyone strived to work together, be inclusive, show volunteerism, continue to hold public events and show the citizens of Dover the city was different.

“I was so proud to be a part of that. The past two years, however, have been absolutely heartbreaking,” Elliott said. “It is embarrassing and frustrating to me, as someone who loves this job, to know the things going on in our own backyard, in a city that we all work so hard to make great.”

It was important to Elliott that each city employee took an oath.

“We made a promise to uphold an ethical and moral code of conduct. We all worked very hard to maintain our integrity to ensure the citizens of Dover that they come first, that we are fiscally responsible and we are running the city as it should be,” Elliott said. “This more than anything should shake us to our core in light of recent events. Mayor, I have known you for nearly 18 years. I was here when you ran the city with a firm but fair hand. I have seen you do many great things here, and the mayor I knew and worked alongside would never let this city become so divided.”

Elliott said the mayor she knew would not have allowed an employee to make decisions and enter unlawfully into contracts that will affect the city for a very long time by circumventing council and the finance office. She was upset Dave Filippi, former light and power plant superintendent, will retire with full honor, “gifting him retirement on a silver platter while we have three employees whose lives were forever changed right before Christmas,” she said.

Elliott had nothing but praise for the three employees Mayor Richard Homrighausen fired without giving a reason right before the holiday.

“Dave Douglas, Eva Newsome and Gerry Mroczkowski were dedicated and loyal employees. They love the city as much as many of us sitting here today. I worked very closely with Dave and Gerry on a daily basis, and the only agenda they had was making the right decisions for the city. Eva, every single day was a welcoming face to your office. Polite and kind in the midst of all the turmoil surrounding that office was a feat in and of itself,” Elliott said. “They were not against you, and council is not against you.”

Elliott said at the beginning of the past two-year period, the mayor created “the separation, divide and lack of communication that completely rocked this city.”

“The mayor I knew was not this man. What changed to make you abandon 148 employees? The employees, not us, deserve a standing ovation. As mayor you are nothing without these employees that have continued to show up day after day to make the city run,” Elliott said.

Elliott extended her thanks to all the city departments.

“These are real people that deserve to be celebrated, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I thank them, and I appreciate them,” Elliott said. “I feel very fortunate to be standing here today, job intact, as my boss appreciates my value and my worth. To live in fear of losing my job without just cause is incomprehensible to me. Dave Douglas deserved the opportunity to retire with honor.”

Elliott again expressed her support of the three fired employees.

"I am asking you, mayor, please make the city whole again. Frankly, I am pleading with you to do the right thing," Elliott said. "The employees and the citizens of the great city of Dover deserve strong leadership to make the decisions that so badly need to be made so that we can begin rebuilding the trust of the community. If this city means as much to you today as on my first day nearly 18 years ago, I know you will take action that serves the city of Dover.

"The time for action is now, and we need to move forward with correcting the issues at hand, right the wrongs and return Dave, Gerry and Eva to their respected positions, and put the employees of this great city and the citizens first."

After the meeting Mayor Richard Homrighausen had no comment on the meeting or actions taken by Dover Council and very little to say about a search warrant executed by the Ohio auditor of state for Dover City Hall. The warrant was carried out Jan. 3.

Homrighausen said the search warrant was “at Eva Newsome’s desk.” However, according to a copy of the warrant, the material in question was located “within a two-drawer wooded cabinet, locked drawer, located behind the desk of the former administrative assistant Eva Newsome.”

Items gathered were “miscellaneous papers, notes, emails, wedding receipts, spread sheets, documents of thefts and the misappropriation of funds, along with any and all evidence pertaining to the violations of the laws of the State of Ohio, to wit: Chapters 2913, 2921 and 2923 of the Ohio Revised Code.”

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2913 deals with theft and fraud, Chapter 2921 deals with offenses against justice and public administration and includes intimidation and retaliation among other offenses, and Chapter 2923 deals with conspiracy, attempt and complicity, weapons control, and corrupt activity. A fraud investigator from the office of the Ohio auditor of state was listed as an agent on the warrant.