Clark County judicial candidate fired in 2019

He was found to have used county equipment for personal use in prosecutor’s office role.

A candidate for Clark County Municipal Court Judge was accused of tending to personal business and using the office’s equipment during work hours at one taxpayer funded position and terminated from another for several issues, including miscommunication that affected caseloads, the Springfield News-Sun has learned.

The incidents occurred while Dan Carey, the Republican candidate for Clark County Municipal Court judge, was working for the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bellefontaine Municipal Court in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Carey is competing with Democrat David E. Herier, a magistrate of the Clark County Municipal Court and Common Pleas Court, to replace retiring Judge Thomas Trempe on the Clark County Municipal in the Nov. 2 election.

The issue regarding Carey’s terminations was first made public during an Ohio Bar Association judge candidates forum on Oct. 13. During that event, Attorney James Heath, treasurer of a Political Action Committee that is opposing Carey, questioned the candidate about his termination from the Bellefontaine Municipal Court, where Carey was a city prosecutor in 2019.

Carey said his relationship with the judge of that court — Ann E. Beck — was “untenable,” but he valued his experience working in that court.

“[We] were like oil and water,” Carey said during the forum.

Even so, Carey wasn’t fired for wrongdoing, he said. Instead, the city terminated him to allow Carey to file for unemployment, he said.

Personnel files the News-Sun gathered through a public records request to the Bellefontaine Municipal Court contains correspondence fromBeck to Carey that detail an incident involving Carey not communicating a scheduled absence with the court and another instance of Carey allowing his secretary to prepare a motion and entry in a case without his review or approval.

“This suggests malpractice and that you clearly do not know what you are doing,” Beck wrote.

At the Bar Association event, Carey was also asked about his employment at the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, where he was assistant prosecutor until 2017.

“My relationship with (former Clark County Prosecutor) Andy Wilson had gotten a little bit icy,” he said during the forum.

According to documents from Carey’s personnel file, on April 20, 2015, Wilson sent a warning letter to Carey in regard to Carey’s use of a county-owned computer during his workday to draft a speech he was slated to give to the Clark County Republican Central Committee. Wilson said in the letter that this act was in violation of an office policy that Carey acknowledged via signature when he joined the prosecutor’s office.

In October of 2017, Wilson sent a memorandum to Carey in regard to a meeting Wilson had with staff at the Department of Job and Family Services, where staff issued complaints about Carey’s job performance, citing a “general lack of preparation for trial and hearings,” and a “lack of passion towards the job.”

Carey requested to be transferred out of his position with the Department of Job and Family Services on Nov. 2, 2017, and the request was denied. In a memo, Carey stated he would likely look into other opportunities if he was not granted the transfer.

On Nov. 3 2017, Wilson sent a notice to Carey that he was to be put on paid administrative leave “immediately” following the discovery that Carey had been using his work computer on paid time to “perform outside legal work and for other personal use for outside business.”

Carey submitted a letter of resignation the same day, according to his personnel file. The attorney told the News-Sun that the workload during his time at the prosecutor’s office often resulted in his working evening hours, and he would sometimes use his county computer in his office for personal use, siting the instance of having a document containing a political speech on his computer.

Judicial candidate Herier told the News-Sun that he has no “independent knowledge” of the claims made against his competitor.

“My campaign has been focused on my own personal work history and my own experience as magistrate in the courts,” he said.

The News-Sun reviewed Herier’s personnel files, and found no similar incidents.

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