Thursday, September 27, 2012

State fires indicted Wildlife Division supervisor

As one of two recently indicted Ohio Division of Wildlife officers, David Warner is not only facing a court trial but will likely have to update his job resumé too.

Warner had been the field supervisor for the Wildlife Division’s District Five (southwest Ohio), a position he was fired from by the agency Sept. 21 - last Friday.

The firing came in a tersely written notification letter issued by the Wildlife Division. This letter to Warner spelled out the reasons for him being fired, the document citing several serious matters.

“As a result of your pre-disciplinary hearing held September 7, 2012, you were found guilty of violating the following provisions of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Disciplinary Policy,” the notification letter reads.

Continuing with the letter’s narrative, the Natural Resources Department charged that Warner engaged in “Dishonesty” by “willfully falsifying or removing any official document,” along with “Neglect of Duty,” and two items described as being “Failure of Good Behavior.”

The firing comes on the heels of an indictment that was filed in the Brown County Court of Common Pleas and presented by that jurisdiction’s prosecutor Jessica Little.

Warner - along with state wildlife officer Matthew Roberts - were charged in July for theft in office, a fifth 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 for allegedly turning in bogus time slips that supposedly showed they were on duty when they were allegedly hunting with former state wildlife officer Allan Wright, who had been assigned to Brown County.

As part of his plea deal, Wright has agreed to return to Ohio and testify against Warner and Roberts, Little has said.

A fifth degree felony is punishable by a jail term of six to 12 months, a maximum fine of $2,500 or both. A third degree Felony is punishable by a jail term of one to five years, a maximum fine of $10,000 or both. A third degree misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term of not more than 60 days, a maximum fine of $500 or both.

And though Warner has been discharged from the Wildlife Division he still faces the charges brought by Little in the Brown County court system.

In regards to Roberts, he “...has a right to due process, which is where we are right now,” said Bethany McCorkle, the Natural Resources’ interim chief of communications.

“He (Roberts) has had a pre-disciplinary hearing but at this time no decision has been made,” McCorkle electronically informed The News-Herald.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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