As a City Commissioner, I wouldn’t be writing this. I would however be calling an executive session to discuss the conduct of a manager with the City Manager. It’s not the drunk driving that concerns me, although, I believe drunk driving to be one of the most underrated felonies, it’s the actions both of the City employee after the crash, and the questions of credibility as to the reaction of the city. If the man has to have a license to have the job, then he should be on un-paid leave until the matter is resolved, or accept a position that does not require a license.
Here’s the meat of the DDN story:
(Thomas J. Ritchie Jr.), the city’s waste collection manager arrested in May for drunken driving has been allowed to keep his license by a judge who has since been voluntarily removed from the case.
(his) license is classified as “suspended” by the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles after he registered a blood-alcohol level of .153 during a May arrest.
Dayton Municipal Court Judge Dennis J. Greaney, who was assigned Ritchie’s case, said he reinstated Ritchie’s license after his attorney made the request while entering a not guilty plea on May 20.
As part of his job description, Ritchie, 40, must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license, city spokesman Tom Biedenharn said.
Greaney, a Democrat on the bench since 2006, said on Aug. 14 he asked to be removed from the case.
A visiting judge has since been assigned the case.
Greaney said he made the request because he personally knows and received campaign contributions from Ritchie and his father, Tom Ritchie Sr. — a local labor union field organizer and board member for the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Ritchie’s attorney, Terry Posey, said his client has been allowed to drive without restriction, but is not driving city vehicles.
Ritchie was arrested about 3 a.m. May 18 after he crashed his 1998 Ford Explorer into a concrete wall at Wayne and Wilmington avenues, according to police reports.
A Breathalyzer test showed Ritchie’s blood-alcohol level at .153 — nearly twice the legal limit — at the time of his arrest.
In his written statement to police, Ritchie said he had been drinking, but a friend named “Tony” offered to drive him home.
Ritchie said Tony fled on foot after the crash and he was trying to chase him.
A witness to the crash said he watched Ritchie try to drive away from the accident, but the truck was immobilized.
From the driver’s seat, Ritchie tossed a beer bottle from the vehicle and fled the scene on foot, according to the witness’ statement.
A woman who recognized Ritchie as the driver, found him nearby in the parking lot of 10 Wilmington Place and told him to return to his truck, the witness said.
Ritchie returned and was arrested for failure to control and operating a vehicle under the influence.
Ohio OVI laws state that first-time DUI offenders must immediately forfeit their license, which could be suspended six months to three years upon conviction….
Ritchie has not been disciplined by the city, Biedenharn said.
Because Tom Ritchie Sr. is a political power broker in Dayton, and a contributor to every member of the current City of Dayton Commission’s campaign funds, it’s no wonder this hadn’t made it into the paper sooner. This, unfortunately, is how we do things in Dayton. Overlook it as long as possible.
How is Mr. Ritchie performing his job without a license? How can he continue to work without driving city vehicles? And, most importantly- how can a man who allegedly runs from the scene of a crime, lies and then allows a prejudiced judge rule, still be in a position of authority in an organization serving the public?
I expect more from people who work for us. You should to.
The public trust is not negotiable in my book. To bad, Judge Greaney doesn’t see it that way, nor does current city leadership.
Your thoughts (esp. since the DDN closed comments on this)…?