LORAIN — Utilities Department Director William Donohue is on paid administrative leave after being accused of verbally harassing a department accounts clerk.
The leave began Wednesday, according to Mayor Chase Ritenauer, who said he didn’t have specifics on the allegations. Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler, who is investigating the allegations, wouldn’t say what Donohue is accused of.
“A person has a right to due process,” he said.
Donohue didn’t reply to a Tuesday evening email and couldn’t be reached by phone. Jack Critelli, president of United Steelworkers Local 6621, which represents city workers who aren’t firefighters or police, didn’t return calls Tuesday or Wednesday.
Donohue, who earns $98,880 annually, was hired Sept. 9. He previously worked for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which oversees wastewater treatment plants in greater Cleveland. Donohue replaced Corey Timko, director since 2004. Timko became become North Ridgeville’s wastewater treatment plant superintendent.
Heads of the sewer, water distribution and water purification departments, which are part of the Utilities Department, will do Donohue’s job in his absence.
“It will be a multi-faceted approach,” Fowler said.
Fowler said if the accusations were found to be true, Donohue could face a written warning, suspension or firing. Fowler, who according to Ritenauer began investigating Tuesday, said he didn’t know how long the investigation would take.
Ritenauer said the probe would be “thorough and diligent.” He said the investigation would be done in a timely manner, but “we won’t push for timeliness at the expense of thoroughness.”
Reporter Brad Dicken contributed to this story.
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