MAUMEE (WTOL) - In the latest political twist in Maumee, city council president Timothy Pauken confirmed to 11 Investigates that the city is conducting an internal investigation of City Administrator John Jezak – despite having no authorization from city council.
The confirmation enraged members of council and prompted councilman David Kissinger to say that he is “strongly considering” calling an emergency meeting of council within the next several days to get answers.
“He’s having an internal investigation that’s being held without council’s approval?” Kissinger asked when told the news. “He’s launching an investigation independent of council? I don’t think that has ever been done in Maumee’s history. The charter puts the power to launch an investigation in the hands of council – the end.”
On Jan. 7, the city placed Jezak on paid administrative leave, pending the results of an investigation from Toledo law firm Spengler Nathanson. The administration of Mayor Richard Carr believes Jezak inappropriately initiated an investigation by law firm Squire Patton Boggs last year that was centered on actions by Carr and councilman Brent Buehrer. However, on Monday, council blocked the administration’s attempt to go forward with the investigation into Jezak’s actions.
Councilman John Boellner screamed into the phone after being notified by WTOL of the internal investigation:
“I don’t even know where this is coming from. On the (Jan. 7) agenda, they were supposed to vote on the firing of Jezak. They found out they didn’t have the votes, so they put him on paid administrative leave, pending the results of an investigation. That investigation was voted down. Now they are doing an internal investigation?” Boellner said. “The man is eligible to retire. Why don’t they let the man retire?”
The political drama erupted with the release of the ethics investigation in December. The center piece of the complaints, brought to Jezak by numerous city employees and officials, was the rapid promotion of Human Resources Director Susan Noble after Carr took office in 2012. Another complaint involved possible age discrimination actions. And two complaints involved possible conflicts of interest by Carr and Buehrer in issues involving city property. The law firm cleared all those involved of any obvious criminal actions, though some members of council say it was not an exoneration.
Jezak was completed blindsided when told by WTOL of the internal investigation against him.
“An internal investigation? By who? I’m at a loss. I’ve never seen anything like it. I just saw law director (Beth Tischler). She didn’t say anything about it. I would think she would have been forthcoming,” Jezak said. “It’s a joke, and a bad one at that. I’m totally in the dark.”
Buehrer hung up quickly after learning that it was a WTOL reporter. “All I know is what you’ve reported,” he said, before ending the call.
Friday was the deadline for the city to send the initial ethics report to the state auditor and state ethics commission.
Jezak says all the behind-the-scenes maneuvering calls the actions of Carr, Buehrer, and Pauken into question.
“I think if someone is screaming this loudly, then maybe there is something to this report after all,” he said. “Why don’t they just answer the questions, then move along.”
Kissinger said that under the charter, an emergency meeting can be held with the vote of three members of council.