The Pic-A-Fay Joint Fire District’s chief will be paid on his leave of absence following a decision that was made by the fire board during a special meeting on Thursday evening.
Michael J. Murphy, 56, the former New Holland village administrator, turned himself in to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office Jan. 20 on a summons charging him with two counts of having an unlawful interest in a public contract.
Back in 2012, the village of New Holland was in need of maintenance of trucks and other repairs. According to reports from the PCSO, Murphy, then as village administrator, allegedly paid his own company, Agri-Motive in New Holland, to take care of the projects. On top of his salary as administrator, Murphy allegedly paid these funds to his private company for various jobs, including work on village vehicles and for work on water plant machinery. Murphy resigned as village administrator on March 10, 2014.
The special fire board meeting, which lasted about 15 minutes at the New Holland firehouse on Thursday, included Chris Cottrill, the Marion Township representatives, Jim Peck, current president of the board and Perry Township representative, and Dwayne Monical III, the Village of New Holland representative. A small crowd of concerned residents and volunteers gathered for the meeting as well.
The meeting was scheduled to discuss and decide actions concerning the leave of absence placed on Murphy. A motion was made to pay Murphy while he is on the leave, which was based on recommendations received by Peck and Cottrill from the Pickaway County Prosecutor. The vote passed with Peck and Cottrill in agreement and Monical voting no.
The next issue voted on concerned Murphy’s access to the firehouse and the return of his equipment. Cottrill, speaking to a member of the crowd, asked if they had secured the firefighting equipment in Murphy’s possession. A response came back explaining they had, other than a few items which would be retrieved as soon as possible. The motion was made on the matter and it was unanimously agreed upon that Murphy should not have access to the firehouse until the charges are resolved.
Finally, Peck took it upon himself on behalf of the fire board to contact a lawyer to get a formal contract written and signed to help cover the fire board and station in the event of litigation or other legal issues. The meeting was then adjourned.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy
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