PDT Staff Writer
Officers of New Boston Police Lodge No. 208, have a response to their filing of a complaint against the campaign of incumbent Sheriff Marty V. Donini.
“We went for a Probable Cause hearing today at the Ohio Elections Commission in Columbus,” FOP Lodge No. 208 President Diane Davis said. “They found no probable cause, and the case was dismissed. I don’t really agree with that decision, but there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it, the way he presented his case.”
The Lodge filed an ethics violation complaint against Donini, alleging he made false statements of endorsement in campaign materials, which the Lodge said was a violation under Ohio Revised Code 3517.21 (B) (8) and 3517.21 (B) (10).
In drafting the letter, Davis said she personally witnessed Donini and “several of his off-duty supervising deputies” going door to door in the Village of New Boston handing out and distributing campaign materials in plastic bags that read in bold black print - “Endorsed by Fraternal Order of Police Portsmouth-New Boston Police Lodge #33, Scioto County Sheriff’s Office Lodge #187.”
In the complaint, Davis pointed out that while New Boston police officers had at one time been members of FOP Lodge No. 33, which, at one time, was made up of both Portsmouth and New Boston police officers, that all changed in April of 2012 when the New Boston Police Department petitioned the Ohio State Fraternal Order of Police to separate from that Lodge in order to form their own Lodge.
Donini countered, “My point is that I was endorsed by FOP Lodge No. 33, and if you will read your (this reporter’s) article on March 7, you actually make a statement that members of the New Boston Police Department are also members of FOP Lodge No. 33. Therefore I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
Davis reiterated it was Lodge No. 208’s stance not to endorse anybody. When the Lodge did not endorse their captain, Steve Goins, himself a candidate for Scioto County Sheriff, it raised some questions within the community. Davis said there should be no question as to their motive.
“People are getting the impression that we’re not endorsing captain,” Davis said. “That’s the impression that everybody is getting, and with him (Donini) distributing this stuff with our name on it, that doesn’t help matters any at all. All we want to do is stay neutral. We have a new Lodge and we don’t feel like we have any business sticking our noses in political races. As far as issues go, yeah, we’ll back an issue if we believe in it and we think it’s going to better the community or make us serve the community better, we’ll back it 100 percent. But as far as judges, any political office, we just don’t feel like we should stick our nose in it. We have to work with these people. We have to cooperate with prosecutors. We have to cooperate with judges, and we have to work with all of these people, and we all feel the same way - we should not be in the political arena at all.”
As far as Goins goes, Davis said she has supported him completely.
“I’ve been in every single parade with him. I’ve been side by side with him through all this,” Davis said. “So don’t say we don’t support our own captain. As a Lodge, we just choose not to get involved in political candidacies. What we do as individuals is our business.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org