By Rick Palsgrove
A citizens’ taxpayers watchdog group has alleged that Groveport Madison Board of Education President Bryan Shoemaker has engaged in misconduct in office.
On Feb. 7, the Groveport Madison Board of Education forwarded a complaint by citizen Ray Crump and the taxpayer watchdog group, as well as public records requests made by the group, to the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney for his review.
“When accusations are made the school district wants to be transparent and accountable to the public,” said Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner. “The county prosecuting attorney will determine if anything needs to be done.”
Warner said the board was not required to send the information to the county prosecuting attorney, but it chose to do so in public session so it is clear the board is aware of the accusations and collectively reported it to the county prosecutor’s office.
In a Jan. 31 email Crump sent to Shoemaker, which is included in the public records request information, Crump alleged Shoemaker abused his power as board president by: ordering school employees to do work on athletic fields for him in his capacity as an officer with youth and adult athletic leagues; and removing steel shelving from the district without the knowledge of the school board or district officials and paying less than fair market value for them only after public records requests were made about the issue.
In the face of these allegations, Crump called on Shoemaker to resign as board president.
“We, as a group, are great supporters of the GM school district,” wrote Crump in his email to Shoemaker. “We do not want to see this district go downhill based on the bad decisions/behavior of one board member. We believe that the right thing for you to do is to resign your seat on the board…”
In the email, Crump wrote that the group’s next steps “without your resignation by Feb. 9, 2018” would be to send the information it had collected to school district officials, the Ohio Ethics Commission, and area newspapers.
Following the board’s Feb. 7 special meeting, Shoemaker said he could not comment on the allegations at this time.
However, in an email to the board and district officials dated Jan. 31 that was included in the public records request information, Shoemaker wrote, “I have zero intention in resigning.”
In a letter to Crump dated Feb. 1, Warner wrote that the district superintendent and treasurer did not know Shoemaker had arranged with the district’s maintenance department to obtain the surplus shelving. The letter notes Shoemaker made one payment to the district of $2,000 on Jan. 26 for the shelving purchase.