By Lance Mihm
Former Celina Safety-Service Director Derek Allen received a $250 fine and a suspended 90 day jail sentence in Miami County Municipal Court in Piqua on Sept. 24 for a count of dereliction of duty, a second degree misdemeanor.
Allen, who was serving in Piqua as assistant city manager, was terminated immediately after being found guilty of the charge Aug. 13.
Allen's jail sentence was suspended after he agreed to cooperate with an ongoing investigation concerning the sale of $160,000 of stone to the Piqua Park Department for a bike path. The stone was sold without using the bidding process. It was later discovered that Robert DeBrosse, the Piqua mayor, is a sales representative at Piqua Materials, where the stone was purchased.
Piqua Police Chief Phil Potter said most information on the case is not being released because of the ongoing investigation. He did say a grand jury is reviewing the case to determine whether another city official was enriched due to the sale of the stone. In a phone call Friday, DeBrosse said he was the target of the ongoing investigation.
"I caught the oversight myself, but the project was already three-fourths complete by the time it was caught," DeBrosse said. "He (Allen) screwed up because he should have bid the project out, but where he got in trouble more was when he lied and tried to cover it up. It ended up making me look bad. I am paid a straight salary without commission, so I made the same amount of money whether the stone was sold or not." DeBrosse said the investigation came about after a former city manager who had retired made a public records request in an effort to "stick" DeBrosse.
"It is unfortunate that he (Allen) was caught up in someone else's personal vendetta," DeBrosse said.
Miami County Prosecutor Gary Nasal was unavailable for comment on the case.
Allen was hired as Celina safety service director by former Mayor Paul Arnold after Arnold won the mayor's seat in the November 1999 election. Allen had left Van Wert as safety service director after being named as a defendant in two civil lawsuits. He worked in Celina until March 2001, when he was fired by Arnold after months of controversy.