It was bad before the pandemic hit- and has been investigated before, but, during the pandemic, while so many people have lost their jobs, hospitality businesses have been strangled, and the courts have ground to a halt, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck was out there handing out bonuses to his employees, again.
Reconstructing Dayton, a 501(c)(4) non-profit (founded by yours truly) committed to helping eliminate duplication of services and waste in Montgomery County had been digging into Heck’s generosity and already found that he was breaking the law by not equally compensating public defenders as required by law by using his illegal bonus system. Yes, illegal, because as a public employee you aren’t allowed to receive gifts- even if they are from your boss. But, there has been no public outcry yet- because, well, if you cross Mat Heck, he’s a vindictive kinda jerk with power. That’s why no one has even challenged him since 1991.
As if Reconstructing Dayton hadn’t already proved that he was breaking the law- we dug in further- asking a bunch of other counties if they handed out bonuses- and compared salaries and crime stats- to see if Montgomery County was getting it’s money’s worth out of Heck’s office. One after another responded to our public records requests: mostly saying “Bonuses? Wouldn’t that be illegal?” and giving us salary data that was compiled and compared. You can read the whole post here: The Inefficiencies of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office: A Deeper Look at Bonuses
While it may be too long for some of you- let’s put it this way, Heck uses his bonuses to keep his employees in line. He rewards his friends- like Debra Armanini who got a $23,405.24 bonus. For the record- that’s more than the average income in Dayton of $19,872, you know the people she serves by putting them in prison. The county commission is in cahoots with Heck, somehow claiming that the budget they approve- with the personnel budget they grant- is his to do as he likes- instead of being like every other department and returning un-allocated funds to the general fund.
Of course, the criminals on the commission, who for years have clawed back un-allocated funds for veterans that went to the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission don’t see a problem with their double standards. And, the reason they get away with it? Because they too are terrified of le’enfant terrible Heck.
And, to make up for their illegal mismanagement of funds through Heck’s illegal bonus bonanza – they are raising your property taxes by as much as a whopping 43% for some folks– right in the middle of an economy wrecking pandemic.
We’ve still got yet another reason Heck shouldn’t be allowed to hand out bonuses- or be a member of the Bar- and probably be living behind bars- but, as usual, we save the best for last.
One of the reasons Reconstructing Dayton is a 501(c)(4) is so that we can collect donations without donors having to be disclosed, and that we can back candidates who advocate for consolidating and streamlining government in Montgomery County. There is no reason for the 7 local municipal courts- with separate websites- and rules. There is no reason for the citizens to give Mat Heck cash to buy off his minions and control them to do his dirty work either. We plan on continuing our efforts to bring transparency and accountability to public office in Montgomery County and the Greater Dayton area. To do this, your donations are needed and appreciated. Please consider donating to Reconstructing Dayton to help us continue this work: www.reconstructingdayton.org/donate