In a July 20 memorandum sent to the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s employees, the agency’s chief called on all of them to “..strive to be open and transparent in our duties and responsibilities...”
Scott Zody said also that he was “very disheartened” following the criminal charges brought against two southwest Ohio-posted commissioned Wildlife Division officers.
His message was sent to the Wildlife Division's 441 full-time employees, including the agency's 139 commissioned officers.
Zody’s memo was in response to the indictments handed down July 19 by the Brown County prosecutor against wildlife officers Dave Warner and Matthew Roberts. These men were indicted on the following counts: Theft in Office, a 5th Degree Felony; and Tampering with Records, a Third Degree Felony. Warner was also indicted for Dereliction of Duty, a Second Degree misdemeanor.
The charges stem from the pair’s alleged activity of hunting while on duty, and also for allegedly turning in bogus time slips that supposedly showed they were on duty when they were allegedly hunting.
Documents and testimony also allege that the two were in the company of Allan Wright, the former state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County.
Wright was sentenced July 17 in federal court for violating the federal Lacey Act.
On Tuesday, Brown County prosecutor Jessica Little said she intends to call Wright as a prosecution witness against Warner and Roberts.
Wright has been granted immunity of the same charges brought against his former coworkers who are now charged with their alleged illegal conduct.
For his part, Zody in the memo reminds his staff that each person needs to adhere to proper record-keeping and to take “common sense steps” to help “ensure compliance.”
Zody then adds that all Wildlife Division employees must remain focused on “fulfilling our mission” to the people of Ohio along with maintaining the “highest quality customer service and integrity.”
He concludes by saying that the agency’s employees must not be “distracted by the naysayers and critics,” though Zody does not indicate who these individuals may be.
Neither Zody nor McCorkle returned email requests for information while McCorkle also did not respond to telephone calls.
Here is the complete text of Zody’s July 20 memorandum:
Scott Zody email to Wildlife employees
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn