Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Acting Wildlife Division chief keeps old salary

Jim Marshall should be holding an iced tea in one hand and relaxing with a fishing pole in the other. Instead, the now-retired assistant chief for the Ohio Division of Wildlife remains the agency’s acting chief.

And he gets to keep his old salary which is more than that for David Graham, the Wildlife Division’s chief who is on paid administrative leave.

Graham and several other Wildlife Division officials are under paid administrative leave pending the outcome of indictments against them and charged in Brown County Common Pleas Court.

Marshall was to have retired beginning April 30 but volunteered to serve as the agency’s acting chief until that date.

He since has extended his mission until the legal matter involving the other Wildlife Division officials is resolved, said Mike Shelton, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ chief spokesman.

Graham’s hourly rate is $47.19 and he is being paid that amount during his period of administrative leave.

“Interestingly enough, Marshall’s hourly rate is $47.76. The chief’s rate does not include longevity. I guess it’s not always so good being on top,” Shelton said.

Also of interest to the Natural Resources Department is the matter of Allan Wright, the state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County and one of the agency officials involved in the legal matter.

However, a legal theory of law led to at least a temporary suspension of the charges brought against Wright. The special prosecutor assigned to the case requested a voluntary dismissal of the charges, pending an independent investigation and presentation to the Brown County Grand Jury.

Even so, Wright remains on paid administrative leave, Shelton said.

“Right now we are trying to determine what steps to take given the prosecutor’s dropping of the case at least temporarily,” he said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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