Thursday, July 7, 2011

UPDATED: Wildlife Division to transfer Brown County's Allan Wright

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is preparing to transfer duties now being handled by officer Allan Wright in Brown County.

Wright is being moved from his Brown County position to that of an agent at-large, said a Wildlife Division official.

Wright is at the apex of a matter involving the so-called “Brown County Five,” a pentarchy of current and now-retired Wildlife Division officials who are each under indictment for alleged felonies.

The indictment against the five officials stems from an incident in which Wright allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address in order to obtain an Ohio hunting license on Nov. 5, 2006.

It is alleged that the five present and former high-ranking agency officials should have handled the Wright incident differently as a criminal matter and not as an administrative matter that resulted in a verbal reprimand for Wright.

While these five officials’ cases are still be debated through the courts, Wright returned to his job last year in Brown County following the dropping of charges against him.

A separate special prosecutor was appointed to review Wright’s activities - if any - but that matter remains unknown at this time with no information coming from the
special prosecutor.

David B. Lane, chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, did say the agency wants “justice to be served, and sooner is better than later.”

Partially for that reason Lane said it was his decision to move Wright into the at-large position.

However, Lane says also, in no manner does the change represent a demotion, “being a lateral transfer.”

Still, Lane said that he cannot recall when an agent left a county to take an at-large position.

“I decided that with everything going on down there I thought taking him out of the day-to-day operations would be good for Allan and his family,” Lane said. “We decided it would benefit Allan and the constituents of Brown County. If there are
issues that need to be looked at, we will.”

Lane said also that depending upon how the matter involving the legal management and regulation of dangerous and exotic animals shakes out, that Wright could incorporate some of those duties to where “he might be enrolled” in that project.

A message was left with Wright on Thursday, July 7, but no response has yet been received. Check back periodically for any changes that might appear.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFRischkorn@News-Herald.com

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