EATON — West Alexandria resident Jerry Wick, who has met with the Preble County Board of Commissioners numerous times concerning Sewer District 6 (SD6), met again with the board on Monday, Nov. 2 to discuss Commissioner Rodney Creech’s connection with SD6.
Wick began by asking the commissioners if the EPA is forcing the county commissioners to make SD6 larger by bringing Eaton and West Alexandria into the fold to collect sewage.
“Not to my knowledge,” Commissioner Chris Day said, adding that it was made clear that Eaton and West Alexandria were not interested in being involved.
“You would have to agree, Chris, that the EPA can put pressures to bear on certain entities and localities to force things,” Wick said.
Commissioner Day responded that he doesn’t agree, and Commissioner Denise Robertson said that she does agree because the EPA is forcing Preble County to do this “right now.”
Wick then addressed a letter to the editor he submitted in the Oct. 31 issue of The Register-Herald concerning Commissioner Rodney Creech’s perceived conflict of interest regarding SD6, of which the Ohio Ethics Commission ruled there was not one.
“I talked to Adam Craft last week, and he told me this before, but he said after he won the primary, [Assistant Prosecutor] Eric Marit said that if [Adam] wins the general election in November, he should get a opinion, like [Rodney] did from the Ethics Commission, because he would now live in the proposed footprint of the sewer district,” Wick stated. “What I’m curious [about] is why didn’t Eric Marit require that of any and all commissioners from the start of that?”
Commissioner Creech then gave his view of a timeline of how things have played out, saying that this has been going on for five years.
“You knew we owned property. You knew we owned it. You’ve picked up corn and helped us cut wood, so don’t act like you didn’t know that property wasn’t there,” Commissioner Creech said. “You didn’t have a problem along the way, so now, all of a sudden, this thing’s moving forward and you’re making up stories about us wanting to build houses on there.”
Wick then clarified that he never said Commissioner Creech would build houses on the property within the SD6 footprint.
“If anybody told you that, they’re lying to you,” Wick said, to which Commissioner Creech quickly said people had told him, and Wick reiterated that he never said that.
Commissioner Creech said he got in contact with Marit after Craft told Commissioner Creech that they both might have a conflict of interest due to owning land within the SD6 footprint, and at that point he reached out to the Ohio Ethics Commission.
“They said there is not. That means that Adam Craft probably doesn’t have a conflict either because it’s one parcel of many,” Commissioner Creech said. “Adam Craft’s gonna have to do an ethics commission report just like me, and he’s going to find out he’s not conflicted out just like I’m not. So, the theory of being a conflict is not there.”
“So you don’t see it as a conflict?” Wick asked.
“It doesn’t matter how I see it,” Commissioner Creech said. “The [Ohio] Ethics Commission does not. I don’t see it as a conflict because I’m not going to use the sewer system.”
Commissioner Creech added that the point of his argument is that saying he will benefit from SD6 is incorrect.
“I’ve stated on the record many times, I’m telling everybody that’s calling me about the stories going around,” Commissioner Creech said. “They’re not true. That’s fine. I just hate it that there’s enough misinformation floating around. We don’t need to create more and more confusion and try and sway people to your story.”
He then added that he had not read Wick’s letter.
“I’m not going to say something, or I’m not going to write something down, that I don’t have documentation of what I’m saying,” Wick said, later reiterating that he believes it’s a conflict of interest, before thanking the commissioners for their time.
In other business
During this meeting, the board authorized an expenditure of $22,988 for emergency repairs to the Brower Road bridge and authorized an expenditure for the transfer of funds to various departments.
The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles