Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UPDATED Allan Wright fired by ODNR, to appeal decision

Allan Wright - the legally embattled former state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County - has been fired by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In a one-page letter dated Oct. 28, 2011 interim Natural Resources Director Scott A. Zody wrote:

“As a result of your recent per-disciplinary hearing held on October 25, 2011, you were found guilty of violating the following provisions of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Disciplinary Policy:

* B. Dishonesty - (2) Willfully falsifying... any official document.

* D. Failure of Good Behavior - (4) Misuse of and/or carelessness with state property....

* Commissioned Officers: A. Law Enforcement - (1) Violation of Uniformed Officer’s Code of Conduct.

“Therefore, you are being removed from your Wildlife Officer position with the ODNR-Division of Wildlife effective the date of your receipt of this letter.”

Laura Jones, chief spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Department, said that Wright has filed a grievance related to this latest action.

This action also falls on the legal heels of Wright being first placed on unpaid administrative leave in August, reinstated to paid administrative leave and according to rules governed by the Ohio Revised Code.

However, the Natural Resources Department declined to write any paychecks to Wright.

That matter likewise is being appealed by the Fraternal Order Of Police, the bargaining unit for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s commissioned officers.

In 2006 Wright allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address to obtain a resident Ohio hunting license, among other matters.

A chain reaction of legal issues have since enveloped others within the Ohio Division of Wildlife who either have retired or else remain aboard the agency.

Wright - who is also under indictment for felony and misdemeanor violations of the federal government’s Lacey Act - is slated to stand trial in federal court Feb. 22, 2012.

Wright agree to state complaints that he allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address to obtain a resident state hunting license.

He subsequently was given a written reprimand which was eventually expunged.

That set into legal motion charges being brought against five current or retired Ohio Division of Wildlife officials.

The cases involving these officials remains pending before Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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