Huber Heights council to meet again after manager Dzik pleads not guilty to OVI

Rick Dzik was arrested at noon Sunday driving a city vehicle in northern Ohio; council first said issue is under review, now plans Tuesday night meeting

Huber Heights City Manager Richard Dzik was arrested on a drunken driving charge early Sunday afternoon in the central Ohio city of Mount Vernon after officers responded to a complaint about a reckless driver.

Dzik, 42, of Huber Heights was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and a left-of-center traffic violation, while driving a Huber Heights city vehicle.

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Mount Vernon Municipal Court. That’s in Knox County, about 50 miles northeast of Columbus. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. June 5 and a trial for 9 a.m. June 26.

Dzik, who took the Huber Heights city manager job in September, did not respond to requests for comment from the Dayton Daily News. But Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore released a statement and called a special council meeting Monday.

“I’m obviously very disappointed personally and professionally in the decisions made by Mr. Dzik that led to this situation, however, my main concern is the continuing business of the city of Huber Heights and the 44,000 people who call Huber Heights home,” Gore said Monday.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

City Council immediately went into a closed executive session at the start of Monday’s 4:30 p.m. meeting “to consider the discipline or dismissal of a public official.” But the city council, with all members present, did not take any disciplinary action.

“The city is taking this matter under review. Rick has done an exceptional job in his tenure with the city of Huber Heights thus far,” Gore said after a roughly 90-minute executive session. “… This is a matter of personal issues. There won’t be any further comments at this time. Other than that Rick has been a very good employee for the city since he’s been here. We are taking this matter seriously.”

Gore did not immediately respond to questions about why Dzik wasn’t put on leave, or what the next steps for the city were. Then Tuesday afternoon, the city announced another emergency meeting for 6 p.m. Tuesday, “to consider the discipline or dismissal of a public official.”

According to a report from the Mount Vernon Police Department, an officer spotted Dzik’s gray Jeep swerve inside his lane and go on the yellow center line briefly. When the officer activated the overhead emergency light for a traffic stop, Dzik did not immediately stop, so the officer “chirped” the siren multiple times before the Jeep turned and came to a stop.

Dzik told the officer he had a couple beers, and the officer noted Dzik had glassy eyes and slow speech, according to the report.

A second officer arrived to assist with the traffic stop, and Dzik agreed to field sobriety tests.

“When Dzik stepped out of the vehicle, I could smell the odor of alcohol coming from his person,” the second officer wrote in the report.

While Dzik was in the position for a test to walk and turn, “he continued to sway back and forth and not maintaining the position. As Dzik was performing the test he did not touch heel to toe and he did not take a series of small steps. Dzik did not finish the test and did not take a total of nine heel-to-toe steps and stated that he was done,” according to the report.

He also had trouble following instructions and maintaining balance during a one-leg stand test, police said.

Inside the Jeep, an officer found an open can of “twisted tea” that was cold to the touch and a loaded magazine containing 18 9mm bullets in the center console, as well as an unloaded handgun in the trunk that was not accessible from the inside of the vehicle.

Police said the firearm and ammunition were transported properly, but they confiscated them for safekeeping and said Dzik could pick them up during normal business hours when sober, the report stated.

Dzik has spent years in Knox County, first as a Kenyon College student, then an employee of Knox County and the city of Mount Vernon. He served as director of Knox County 9-1-1, and most recently as safety service director (the equivalent of city manager) for the city of Mount Vernon until 2023.

Mount Vernon Municipal Court records show Dzik received seven tickets for traffic violations, mostly for speeding, between 2002 and 2013.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

About the Authors